Toddler in ‘grave condition’ shot in head during Chicago road rage incident
On Tuesday, a 21-month-old boy was shot in the head while riding down Lake Shore Drive after one vehicle would not let another vehicle merge.
A toddler in Chicago is the victim of gun violence after adults reportedly engage in a road-rage related altercation.
According to PEOPLE, the shooting occurred at the 300 block of South Lake Shore Drive around 11 a.m. on Tuesday. Police claim witnesses observed a woman exit the vehicle with a child and a “good Samaritan” transported them to the hospital.
“We can confirm that this afternoon we received a nearly 2-year-old male child with a serious gunshot wound,” Dr. Marcelo Malakooti, associate chief medical officer at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “The child sustained a bullet wound to his head and he is in very critical condition currently being treated in our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He is requiring full critical care support. We are doing all we can do for this little boy and thank everyone for their concern.”
WGN9 reported the family identified the child as Kayden and shared his condition is improving. He remains in critical condition in Lurie Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The outlet detailed the toddler was in a vehicle with his grandmother and her boyfriend when one vehicle would not let another vehicle merge.
According to law enforcement, shots were fired, and the vehicle Kayden was in rear-ended a Lexus SUV.
“The bullet went in and came out,” said Clifton Marvel, Kayden’s great-grandfather, according to the news outlet. “He’s been in surgery. It looks to be like he’s going to be OK.”
“At this time, it appears that they are completely unknown to each other and there was a dispute possibly over somebody not letting somebody into a lane of traffic,” said Commander Jake Alderden.
According to the report, the unidentified witness who was rear-ended shared their view of the scene.
“I was making a left turn on Monroe and a car rear-ended me,” said the witness to WGN9. “A lady appeared and I didn’t see where she came from but she had a baby and she was trying to get into the car next to me.”
ABC News reported a firearm was recovered from one of the occupant’s of the car the boy was riding in but it remains unclear whether the gun had been fired. Kayden’s shooting only added to a violent start to the week in the Windy City.
According to the news outlet, on Chicago on Easter Sunday seven people died and at least 10 more were injured with gunshot wounds. On Monday night, a fight turned to gun violence on the city’s south side and seven people were injured.
According to ABC News, by the end of March there were 131 homicides compared with 98 for the same period last year. The total number of shooting victims in 2021 has surpassed 700, more than 200 more than had been recorded during the first three months of 2020.
theGrio reported Chicago shootings are at their highest level in 4 years. Experts say larger cities are seeing a spike in violence and say the change may stem from social anxiety due to the pandemic, economic devastation, and early release of criminal defendants due to the pandemic.
ABC News reported On Tuesday, President Joe Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki addressed gun violence and cited Chicago as a community in need. She shared the president is open to federal spending on “community violence prevention.”
“He’s actually proposed funding to do just that… in order to address the prevalence of violence in some communities like Chicago that we need to spend money from the federal government to do exactly that,” she said according to the news outlet.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has faced critique in her response to gun violence. According to Block Club Chicago, in 2020 Mayor Lightfoot initiated a committee to hold the city “accountable and increase transparency.” Since the announcement, the Violence Prevention Planning Committee met once in December in a closed meeting with disapproval from local organizations and residents. The outlet reported some local anti-violence workers were surprised to learn that the group had met at all.
Members of the group have acknowledged the meetings should be made public.
“We were excited about this public accountability mechanism,” said Kim Smith, director of programs at the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab. “I didn’t really appreciate that the meetings were not open to the public.”
Eddie Bocanegra, another committee member who also directs READI Chicago, added “I think there should be transparency even if it’s simply listening in.”
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