Two more children - a baby and 9-year-old girl - were caught in the crossfire of Chicago's gun violence epidemic within hours of each other Thursday, prompting community leaders to voice renewed calls for action.
Mikyla James, 9, was shot in the head Thursday afternoon while riding in a car in the 800 block of East 79th Street in the city’s East Chatham neighborhood, according to Chicago police. Mikyla was rushed to Comer Children's Hospital in critical condition.
At approximately 8 p.m. the same day, a one-month-old baby and four others were injured in an Englewood shooting. The baby, Terriana Smith, was strapped in her car seat when shots erupted in the 6600 block of South Halsted Avenue.
"We don't want to see kids dying in the streets," said Charles McKenzie, Terriana's uncle, who is also the founder of the anti-violence organization Englewood First Responders.
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McKenzie told NBC 5 he recently talked to Terriana's mother and learned a bullet did not hit the young baby's skull. It only grazed her skin, he said, calling the news a "blessing."
On Friday, less than 24 hours after his niece was shot, McKenzie gathered at the very spot where the shooting occurred and hosted a peace gathering.
Across the city, Chicago police say a total of 172 children under 17 years old have been shot between Jan. 1 and June 27 of this year. Of those injured, 25 children died from their injuries.
"This seems to be something acceptable now," McKenzie said, referring to the shootings of children.
Rev. Michael Pfleger, senior pastor of Saint Sabina Church, said the city and nation came together to address the COVID-19 pandemic, so why can't the same happen for gun violence?
"There should be an outrage of saying how can we come together. Do something about this," he said. "There is no one answer, but whole lot of things we could be doing and are not doing as a city."