Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted a fact check of the National Rifle Association on Wednesday, hours after a 9-year-old was shot in the city's South Austin neighborhood.
The NRA tweeted that Lightfoot "blames Mississippi for its gun violence" on Wednesday afternoon.
“'No serious person could think that murderers are out of control, and people are burning police cars in Chicago b/c of Mississippi.' —Gov. @TateReeves," the NRA tweeted, adding, "Don’t blame Mississippi for the failures of Chicago’s leftist leaders."
Lightfoot posted her own response hours later, tweeting "Fact: 'The majority of illegally used or possessed firearms recovered in Chicago are traced back to states with less regulation over firearms, such as Indiana and Mississippi,'" a quote from the city's 2017 Gun Trace Report as well as a link to that report itself.
"Wild that @NRA peddles misinfo instead of facts," Lightfoot added.
The exchange happened hours after a 9-year-old boy and his mother were shot as they walked down the street in the 300 block of North Central at approximately 1:16 p.m., according to police.
Authorities said a dark-colored vehicle pulled up and two men got out, both pulled out weapons and began firing shots, striking both victims.
The mother, a 27-year-old woman, was hit in the lower back and her son was hit in the lower back as well. Both underwent surgery at Stroger Hospital on Wednesday, police said.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown blasted the shooting as a “cowardly act,” and promised that the department would aggressively pursue the gunmen.
This shooting occurred just days after three shooters, seen in a surveillance video released Wednesday, opened fire near a park in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood, hitting a 12-year-old boy.
Community activist Andrew Holmes passionately spoke out against the continuing violence on Wednesday.
“What’s causing you to shoot?” Holmes asked. “What’s causing the pain in your heart?”
Elsewhere in the city, activists are hoping to use different tactics to combat gun violence, using sports to help bring kids together and to encourage them to become better citizens.
“It’s a proven fact that if we capture our youth at a young age and put them into something positive, they will prosper and become better people,” Ernest Radcliffe, a coach with the Wolfpack football program, said. “If we had more resources, we could save more kids.”
“Sports saved my life,” Corey Brown, who coaches baseball as part of a youth outreach initiative, said. “If it wasn’t for sports, I would be out there doing something I wouldn’t even talk about.”
Above all else, the coaches and organizers involved in these youth sports organizations say that their programs are about giving kids a safe place to be kids.
“We have to find something for them to do, so they can feel safe,” Coach Rynell Morgan said.