Gunmen opened fire on a group in a Southeast Side park Monday night, killing a 17-year-old boy and wounding three others in a neighborhood that hasn't seen a slaying since last summer, Chicago police said this morning.
The shooting at Merrill Park in the 2100 block of East 96th Place occurred minutes after a separate shooting that wounded two teens in the Marquette Park neighborhood, leaving six people wounded in a 15-minute span, authorities said.
But in all, at least 13 people were wounded in shootings across the city since 8 p.m. Monday, according to early police reports.
The four victims shot in the park were all standing in the park about 10:18 p.m., when police said at least two gunmen, one armed with a handgun and the other with a rifle, emerged from a nearby gangway and opened fire, police said.
A 17-year-old boy who was wounded in the neck was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, police said. The victim, identified as Alixi Johnson, of the 9600 block of South Merrill Avenue, was declared dead at 11:01 a.m. at Christ Medical Center, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.
A 34-year-old woman struck in the abdomen, was taken to John H. Stroger Hospital in "stable" condition. Two other victims, a man, 21, and a woman, 30, were each hospitalized with gunshot wounds to the leg.
Johnson's grandmother, Forestine Randall, said the family believes Alixi was the victim of a random shooting. The teen was hanging out with friends in the park, which is near his home, when someone started spraying the area with bullets, forcing everyone to run and scatter, Randall said.
The 56-year-old Randall said Alixi, who had three sisters, was "loved by all" and had no enemies nor any gang affiliations, she said. The teen was set to be a senior in high school and loved to play football and basketball, she said.
"He was a friendly guy," said Randall, who lives in Downstate Jacksonville. "He would go out of his way, above and beyond, to help someone. He wasn't no bad kid."
Randall said she has nothing but special memories of her grandson, whom she affectionately called "Big Baby." She hopes the shooter comes forward, she said, so justice can be served.
"I just wish that these kids would understand what they're doing and stop all this gangbanging and shooting and taking innocent people's lives," Randall said.
Friends of Johnson’s said he was a funny, respectful teenager who liked to be around people.
The teen, who often cracked jokes, would have been a senior at Bowen High School, said his friend Kiante Litettle, 16.
"He was my right-hand man. He was with me all the time," said Litettle. "They just killed him for no reason."
Neighbor Lovie Bernard, 61, was shocked when she saw a dead snake in the street a while ago, but Johnson came to her rescue and threw out the serpent, she said.
"He was cracking up," Bernard recalled.
Shantell Burnett, 22, said she was in the park when the shootings took place. She had just given Johnson a hug minutes before he was struck.
She said she saw his body near a tree on the ground and knew right away he had died.
'His eyes...were just that dead stare," she said.
An ongoing turfwar between two rival gangs has been growing in the area, but they still frequent the park because they were used to the violence.
Still, the teen's death was the first recorded homicide in the small Jeffery Manor neighborhood in nearly a year.
Police recovered about 50 bullet casings at the scene, but had made no arrests as of this morning.
About 15 minutes prior, a 13-year-old boy and a 18-year-old man were each wounded as they stood in the 7200 block of South Artesian Avenue, police said.
The boy was taken to Christ Medical Center in good condition with a gunshot wound to the left thigh. The boy later told police he simply heard gunshots and felt pain.
An acquaintance drove the older victim to Holy Cross Hospital, where he was being treated for gunshots to the back and his right foot.
About five of the 14 people killed in the Southwest Side community this year were 18 or younger, according to a Tribune homicide analysis.
In other overnight shootings:
A man, 23, was shot in the buttocks in the 3500 block of West Walnut Street at about 8:10 p.m. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital for treatment.
A 17-year-old boy riding a bicycle was wounded in the 6100 block of South Winchester Avenue at about 9:40 p.m. He was taken to Stroger, where he was listed in good condition.
A man, 20, was shot in the right foot as he walked in the 4000 block of West Augusta Boulevard at 11 p.m. A relative took him to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park for treatment.
A gunman inside a dark-colored SUV wounded a 26-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman as they stood in the 12000 block of South Wallace Street at about 11:18 p.m., police said. Both were treated at area hospitals for non-serious wounds.
A 27-year-old man was shot in the right ankle as he walked through an alley in the 10100 block of South Parnell Avenue at about 12:35 a.m. Tuesday. He was driven to nearby Roseland Community Hospital for treatment. Police said this shooting was gang-related.
A man, 31, was getting into a vehicle in the 7800 block of South Shore Drive when a gunman in a nearby gangway opened fire. The victim, who was struck in the arm, was taken to Roseland, where he was listed in good condition.
A 28-year-old woman was shot in a parked vehicle on the 7000 block of South Wentworth Avenue at about 4 a.m. Someone in a light-colored sedan pulled up and fired shots, police said. She suffered a graze wound to the back and was taken in good condition to Stroger Hospital.
Yep now we see how gun control works only the criminals have them.