The aunt of a slain 9-year-old girl expresses profound grief.
A set of young cousins were shot Tuesday night while playing in their front yard with family members nearby. One, a 9-year-old, died and a 7-year-old is in the hospital.
Tanaja Stokes, 9, and Ariana Jones, 7, were hit by stray bullets around 7:55 p.m. after two men on bicycles fired shots near Indiana Avenue and 107th Street in the Roseland neighborhood and fled, said Calumet Area detectives.
"I didn't see anybody, I just heard shots and told the kids to get down," said Alice Thomas, mother to Ariana Jones. "I noticed my niece down there in a puddle of blood."
Stokes died. Jones was taken to Roseland Community Hospital where she is listed in good condition, authorities said. Her family said Jones was shot in the back of the head.
"She has a fractured skull and fragments of bullets are still in there," Thomas said.
Some reports suggest the shootings came after an argument between a group of teens nearby. Thomas said the shooters simply rode by and sprayed bullets into a crowd of children.
"They are cruel, cruel, cruel people with no life inside of them," Thomas said. "They just didn't care."
Police are speaking with a person of interest.
Thomas said the family knows the dangers of living in the Roseland neighborhood.
"We're always scared when the kids are playing because you never know," she said about the neighborhood."It's ridiculous, they need help out here bad."
Police seemed to agree with the sentiment.
"It's very frustrating, but what I think this underscores is our absolute need to be committed in partnership, both the community and citizens, and everyone in Chicago. And essentially what we need to do is turn this anger into mobilized activity where we start to say something. If you see something, say something. Silence does kill. And in this particular case we need all the help we can get to get these individuals with guns off the street," said Deputy Supt. Ernest Brown.