Two people are in custody in Wednesday night’s drive-by slaying of a 9-year-old girl who was outside her grandmother’s house when she was shot in the neck, police said.
Chastity Turner was giving the family's dog a bath with her father in the Englewood neighborhood when a van pulled up and someone began shooting. Chastity was hit by a bullet in the neck. Her 31-year-old father, Andre Turner, and two of his friends were also shot. Family members said the father was "doing okay."
A day earlier, the little girl had told family members that she wanted to go home "because it's not safe over here," the Chicago Sun-Times reported, citing a family member. Her grandmother, Tanya Turner, told the newspaper that shots were fired on the block for about 20 straight minutes on Tuesday.
Andre Turner is refusing to cooperate as police question the two shooting suspects, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing police sources. Police Supt. Jody Weis said he believes the shooting may be gang-related and that Andre Turner may have been the intended target.
"As so often, so many times, an innocent child is killed due to gang violence," Weis said. "All the indications right now, it's a gang-related shooting. And again, we have a 9-year-old child who is dead because of that and that's absolutely horrific.
Weis said the department had gotten "great" help from neighbors.
"We know who the gangbangers are. They don't come in from the suburbs; they don't come in from Mars. They're here in our community."
Shortly after the shooting, a witness said he believed the shooting wasn't a random act.
"They point the gun to see who they was going to shoot at, and they probably didn't see the guys who they wanted to shoot, so they just started shooting anybody, and they shot the people that the guys knew," the witness said. ""They weren't just, 'Aww, my bad, I shot a little girl.' They shot her. They aimed to shoot her."
Chastity, who had just finished 3rd grade, was taken in critical condition to University of Chicago Medical Center. She was pronounced dead a short time later.
"I called her my little old lady. She was like a little mother. She was really, really smart and friendly,'' the girl's grandmother said through tears, then called for an end to the killing of innocent victims.
"She was a normal, playful, little girl who always wanted to dance and play with everybody," Ericka Johnson, a cousin told the Chicago Breaking News Center. "She was lovable, smart, tough, respectable."
Police said the shots came from a light-green van and a vehicle fitting that description was found a few blocks from where the shooting occured. A rifle was recovered by investigators located near the van. Forensic tests are underway to see if it was the weapon used to kill Chastity Turner.
At least two other people have been shot on the same block -- the 7400 block of South Stewart -- since March, the Chicago Sun-Times pointed out.
Police have executed search warrants on the same block in recent weeks seeking to seize weapons, sources said.