A barbecue at a South Side park was interrupted by gunfire early Tuesday, leaving two men and a woman dead as well as two others injured in the Fuller Park neighborhood.
About 30 people were enjoying the barbecue, a memorial for someone who died in a crash years ago, when more than 15 shots rang out, according to a woman who wished to be identified only as “Shorty.”
“We were just having a good time,” she said.
Five people from the group were shot about 12:10 a.m. in the 300 block of West 42nd Street when two males opened fire from an alley, according to Chicago Police. Lawn chairs and beer cans could be seen strewn about the edge of the park at the end of the block.
Antian Hardmon, 25, of the 7200 block of South Langley, was shot in the head, and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:05 a.m., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Ayanna Northern, 22, was shot in the chest. She was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.
A 30-year-old man also suffered a gunshot to the head and was taken in critical condition to Stroger Hospital, police said, before he died of his wounds hours later.
Another woman, 24, was shot in the left leg and was taken to Stroger Hospital; while a 36-year-old man was shot in the leg and later walked into Provident Hospital. Both of their conditions were stabilized.
“Shorty” said she held the 22-year-old woman in her arms before she died.
“She said, ‘Help me,’ her eyes glazed over, and that was it,” she said, adding she didn’t know the woman personally.
Family members say Northern was the mother of a 4-year-old daughter, who was at the scene Tuesday morning.
"She said, 'Are you going to leave mommy in the dark? I know she's dead,'" said the woman's sister, Zenobia Northern. "I was numb. I didn't believe it. This can't be real."
“Shorty,” who grew up in the neighborhood, added that her five nieces and nephews, all younger than 9, get mad at her for not letting them play in the park because it’s not safe.
“After the pow pow pow pow, we all hit the ground. But [the woman] didn’t get up,” she said. “I have to work at 8 a.m., but I’m not going to sleep because if I close my eyes, I’m going to see it … Her face is etched in my mind.”
The shooting happened just hours after five people were shot in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, including an 11-month-old boy.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy echoed the outrage Tuesday and said officers are pursuing "promising leads" in both cases.
"Families are being torn apart because it's too easy to get an illegal gun in the city of Chicago," he said.
The shooting comes after a violent weekend that saw four people killed and 52 others wounded.