In Verse: ‘The Streets Are Marked With The Children’s Blood’ | WBEZ
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In Verse: ‘The Streets Are Marked With The Children’s Blood’

A 19-year-old man was shot in the arm while playing outside with a group of teens Saturday night in a part of Englewood where more than 80 people have been shot in the past five years, police and neighbors said.

The young man was in the 1600 block of West 57th Street when a car pulled up and someone inside opened fire shortly after 8 p.m., police said. The shooting was one of dozens throughout the city over the weekend.

Neighbors said the gunman fired five shots from a passing car as the victim played outside with a group of teens. They said children often play outside on the block, but one neighbor questioned if that is safe anymore.

“They were playing like they normally do all the time. … Next thing I know I’m walking around the corner, and I hear gunshots, and I turned right back around to make sure everybody is OK,” said neighbor Eugene Jones. “When I get here [the victim] is laying down in the grass and the [shooter’s] car had left.”

The victim was taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition, police said.

City data show that since 2012 there have been nine homicides and 74 non-fatal shootings in the police beat where the 57th Street took place -- an area that’s about 20 square blocks.

The most recent homicide was in February when 12-year-old Kanari Gentry-Bowers was shot in the head while playing on a school playground just three blocks from Saturday’s shooting.

The children outside after Saturday night’s shooting were visibly shaken: crying and upset.

Jones, 26, said “the whole block is full of kids.”

“That’s why it’s so important to me that whatever just occurred, some type of actions get taken,” Jone said. “Prosecute the people that did it or it’s just going to continue. That’s how violence continues -- when you don’t do anything about it.”

While Jones was talking, he pulled out his cell phone and showed a video recorded just days before of him in a foot race down the block with the victim.

Just around the corner, 53-year-old Veronica Adams sat on her porch with her sister. The two said they came outside after hearing the shots.

“The kids can’t play in the street no more, they can’t play on the street,” Adams said. “You can’t even sit on your porch. We are hardly ever outside.”

Adams said her 15-year-old nephew, Christopher Lattin Jr., was shot and killed in 2013 just a few blocks from Saturday night’s shooting.

“This don’t just happen here, it’s happening everywhere,” Adams said. “Murder is happening everywhere. Senseless killings [of] children. The streets are marked with the children’s blood.”

Officer Nicole Trainor, a police spokeswoman, said detectives are still investigating Saturday’s shooting and no arrests have been made. Police would not confirm a motive for the shooting

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