Two young girls are on life support after being shot in separate attacks on Chicago's South Side Saturday evening, according to police.
The first shooting occurred around 7:15 p.m. in the 1900 block of W. 57th St in the city's West Englewood neighborhood, authorities said.
A 12-year-old girl was playing with friends when gunfire erupted, according to police, who initially said she was struck in the head and taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition.
Family members clarified on Sunday that she was shot in the right side of the neck, shattering her spine.
They identified her as Kanari Gentry-Bowers, describing her as "one of the sharpest kids you would know."
Kanari remained on life support, relatives said, adding that doctors told them that if she survives, she will likely be unable to walk again.
Family members said Kanari was playing basketball on the playground at Henderson Elementary School when someone in a nearby car opened fire.
Less than a half hour later, another young girl was critically wounded in a separate shooting on Chicago's South Side.
The second shooting occurred in the 6500 block of S. King Dr. in the city’s Parkway Gardens neighborhood, according to police.
Around 7:40 p.m., an 11-year-old girl was sitting in the back of a car when shots rang out, authorities said, striking her in the head.
She was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, according to police, and was listed in critical condition.
Family members identified her as Takiya Holmes, and said she too remains on life support.
"When her mom called and said that Takiya had been shot, I thought she made a mistake," said Takiya’s grandmother Patsy Holmes.
Holmes said Takiya was in the family’s minivan with her mother, aunt and 3-year-old brother when the shooting occurred. They were parked outside her mother's work, waiting for a co-worker, when they suddenly heard gunfire.
"Shots rang out, she told everybody to get down, and once they stopped, she asked was everybody ok and Takiya did not respond," Holmes said.
Holmes said family, friends, Takiya's youth group and even the principal of Schmid Elementary School, where she is a student, have come to visit the granddaughter she describes as courteous, thoughtful and lively.
Now, the family is asking the public to pray for her recovery, and for anyone with information on the shooting to come forward.
"It’s grim and we want prayers to go up for her," Holmes said. "We want whoever saw what happened to tell the police. This is happening too much in Chicago."
Chicago community activist Andrew Holmes said Takiya is his cousin and he is offering $1,000 of his own money as a reward to help find the shooter.
"It hurts like hell when you keep losing your own family," said Holmes, whose daughter was shot and killed at an Indianapolis gas station in 2015.
A fundraising page has been set up to help Takiya and her family offset the costs they are incurring from the shooting.
No one is in custody for either incident, and authorities continue to investigate.
The girls were among at least 21 people shot in Chicago so far this weekend, including five fatally.