Uncle: Teen's Weave Helped Stop Bullet

The teen was critically wounded in the shooting

An 18-year-old woman was shot in the head in Chicago’s East Chatham neighborhood Tuesday, and her uncle says her weave may have helped save her life.

"[Doctors] assumed that when the bullet kind of went in, it bounced out because she had the weave in her hair," said Chantal Hammontree's uncle Randy Berry. Doctors have not confirmed that the weave played any role in repelling the bullet.

The teen was sitting in a car when shots were fired in its back window, hitting her in the head, police said.

"She was coming home, and when her girlfriend let her out of the car, the guy walked up and just shot her," Berry said.

Police said Hammontree was the only victim in the shooting just before 1:30 p.m. in the 900 block of East 83rd Street.

She was taken to University of Chicago Hospital in critical condition and was later transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital, according to police.

Family members said Hammontree is an "A" student and recent high school graduate with plans to join the military.

Berry told NBC Chicago Hammontree was conscious and talking at the hospital and is expected to survive.

He believes the shooting stemmed from an incident with another uncle, who was shot and paralyzed in May in a gang-related shooting.

"There was the 'East Side, West Side' type of thing going on," Berry said. "[The shooter] told her that because she was affiliated with him, they were going to shoot her also."

The shooting comes after holiday weekend gun violence in Chicago left at least 11 people killed and 67 shot in a spate of shootings Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy called "unacceptable."

"We had basically the same level of shootings that we did last year, which is unacceptable because this year we put a ton of effort into preventing it," the frustrated chief said Monday at his weekly press briefing to show off the illegal firearms taken off the streets in the previous days.

Still, Chicago's top cop maintains the department's overall crime strategy is working. He reiterated statistics indicating that this year is on track to have one of the lowest crime rates in decades.

Through Sunday, he said 11 fewer homicides have been recorded compared to the same time last year -- 185 compared to 196 in 2013. Shooting incidents, however, are up by 46, he said.

There were eight incidents over the weekend when Chicago officers fired their weapons or were fired upon.

Residents held a prayer vigil in the city's Roseland neighborhood to decry the violence Monday, some saying it isn't just about guns.

"I feel like it's not the guns that's killing people. It's people behind the trigger," said George Barron, who was shot in both legs in May. "Every shooting it's gonna get worse. Everyone out for revenge."

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