A visibly upset Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke at a prayer vigil for the victims of a Thursday shooting that left 13 people injured in a city park.
"This is the real face of Chicago," said to an emotional crowd of community leaders and residents. "Last night is a reality of Chicago, but this is the real face of Chicago. And last night is too frequent and familiar for some children in Chicago. That has to come to an end."
Witnesses said several gunmen fired at least 20 shots at a group gathered at Cornell Square Park, on the 1800 block of W. 51st Street, shortly before 10:15 p.m. The spray of bullets sent a mass of people to the ground on the basketball courts.
The victims included 10 males and three females, including 3-year-old Deonta Howard -- known as "Tay-man" -- who was shot in the jaw and listed in critical condition as of 3 a.m. The boy was with his mother. She was not injured, a police spokesman said.
The mayor talked about how the community was heartbroken over the shooting, and said he wished people could see what he saw while visiting the families of some of the victims.
"We cannot allow children in the city of Chicago, and we will not allow children in the city of Chicago, to have their youthfulness, their optimism, their hope taken from them," he said. "That’s what gun violence does. That is wrong."
The Mayor was joined by Pastor Corey Brooks, who has acted a spokesman for Howard's family, and other community leaders.
Emanuel and Brooks emphasized that for a city to have its sense of civility, it must live by a "moral code," and not a "code of silence."
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Friday an assault-style rifle with a high capacity magazine was used in the shooting, and that it appeared to be gang-related.
"The parks in the city of Chicago belong to the families of the city of Chicago, the streets of the city of Chicago belong to families of Chicago, the front stoops of our homes belong to the families of the city of Chicago," Emanuel said. "You go out there and enjoy our city because they do not own or belong or have no place for gangs. And assault weapons do not belong in our parks, they do not belong on our streets."
Emanuel asked that parents and families continue to go out into the community.
"You go back out onto those streets and you work, take care like a family and a community," he said. "If we do that, people will see the Chicago I see and the true character of what we are."