HomeTop Headlines9-Year-Old Shot Dead During Family Celebration

9-Year-Old Shot Dead During Family Celebration

- Advertisement -

On Saturday, April 13, 2024, a joyous family gathering was shattered by gunfire in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. The attack left a nine-year-old girl, Ariana Molina, dead and ten others wounded, including three additional children who are now in critical condition.

Around 9:15 PM, as the family celebrated a Catholic Confirmation outside their home near West 52nd Street and South Damen Avenue, shooters in a black sedan opened fire into the crowd. 

The Chicago Police Department, alerted by a ShotSpotter detection system that recorded 18 rounds, arrived promptly at the scene. Despite their rapid response, the girl was fatally struck in the head and later died from her injuries at the hospital. Her father, Jose Molina, was injured in the foot but stressed that his physical wounds paled in comparison to the loss of his daughter.

“The whole family was together, just trying to enjoy each other’s company and celebrate,” Jose Molina recounted. “None of us could have ever imagined it turning out this way.”

The violence did not spare the youngest at the gathering; a one-year-old boy suffered multiple gunshot wounds and, along with his seven-year-old brother who was also critically injured, was rushed to the hospital. A nine-year-old boy was grazed on the hand. Details on the conditions of the other victims, who range in age from 19 to 40, remain scarce, but the emotional and physical toll of the night is apparent.

Chicago Police believe the shooting was the result of gang violence, a notion that only deepens the tragedy, considering the setting. “This was not a random act of violence; it was likely gang-related,” confirmed Area 1 Deputy Chief Don Jerome. The offenders’ actions are horrific and unacceptable in our city.”

Mayor Brandon Johnson expressed his profound disturbance over the incident, emphasizing that such acts of violence are intolerable. “The heartbreak of losing one of our city’s children is unimaginable, especially under these tragic circumstances,” Mayor Johnson stated. “We must not become numb to this pain.”

In response to the shooting, the city has announced plans to deploy trauma support teams to the Back of the Yards community to help those affected cope with the aftermath. A canvassing event to provide victim services and trauma care has been scheduled, reflecting the community’s urgent need for support and healing.

The Chicago Police continue their investigation into the shooting. They call on anyone with information to come forward, hoping that community tips can lead to the apprehension of those responsible for this heinous act. The city’s broader struggle with gun violence is underscored by this event, which occurred during a weekend where a total of 48 people were shot in separate incidents across Chicago.

“This incident, this loss of a young life, this pain inflicted on a family gathered to celebrate—none of it should be normal, none of it can be dismissed,” Deputy Chief Jerome added. “Three innocent children were struck tonight, and these actions are horrific and unacceptable in our city.”

On Sunday, the family was still gathered on the same block, enveloped in a stunned silence punctuated by sobs as they tried to process the events. Many relatives, including Ariana’s immediate family and grandmothers, live on the same street. The street was quietly adorned with a “God bless” banner and a modest memorial featuring a cross, pink balloons, and votive candles dedicated to Ariana and the other victims.

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles

More Articles Like This