A 4-year-old Chicago girl was shot in the stomach while playing outside Monday night, nearly a week after family said they had celebrated her birthday.
Khalise Weatherspoon was playing and riding her scooter outside her grandparent’s Chicago Lawn home early Monday evening when she and a 31-year-old man were shot just before 5 p.m. near 71st and Rockwell. Police say two men suddenly ran out of the alley and started shooting, striking Weatherspoon in the stomach and the adult man in the buttocks. All while the little girl’s mother witnessed the incident.
The bullet exited through her back. Immediately following the shooting, little Khalise was rushed to Chicago’s Holy Cross Hospital, but was later transported to Mt. Sinai Hospital where she was treated for her injury in the trauma unit.
At the hospital, Weatherspoon’s family members told media they were hurt and angered by the shooting. Her grandfather, Richard Spires, told the Sun-Times, “The shooting these guys are doing is just ridiculous. The people getting shot are the innocent people like my grandchild. And the government is now allowing this concealed carry mess. They might as well open it up and say it’s the OK Corral.”
CBS Chicago reports police have no suspects in custody but said it appears the girl’s family has gang ties, and that a relative was the intended target.
“It’s high time that the black community get a grip. We’ve had summit after summit. We’ve had march after march. The reality is we know the people who are the potential shooters,” said neighbor, Bamani Obadele.
Khalise was initially listed in serious condition when she was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, but had been upgraded to good condition Tuesday morning, and she was moved out of the ICU.
“Doing normal things that normal kids do; I mean, it’s just bad. We’ve got to stop the violence, man. I mean, it’s getting ridiculous,” said her grandfather, Richard Spires.
Doctors told her family she’s lucky the gunshot wound was through-and-through, and the bullet did not end up lodged inside her.
“She’s alert, she’s sitting up a little bit, and she’s just in a lot of pain from the gunshot wound. Outside of that, she’s in good spirits,” Spires said. He spent the night at the hospital with his granddaughter. “I went out and bought balloons and stuff for her last night,” Spires said.
Khalise’s condition has improved so much; she was craving a hearty meal Tuesday morning. “Doctor asked her was she hungry, and she said “yeah,” and the doctor asked her what she wanted to eat, and she said steak,” Spires said. “However, the doctors don’t want her to have anything in her stomach just in case there are fragments there.”
It’s unclear who the second victim of the shooting is. Khalise’s family said he’s not related to them. They also denied a member of the family was the intended target. Spires said the man who was also shot was walking out of a home toward his car when the shooting began. “They just opened, started shooting. It was a coward, senseless act. It’s just crazy, man, it don’t make no sense. It’s real bad, man. Police have made no arrests in the case.
Though her condition has improved, her family said Khalise likely would not be released from the hospital on Tuesday
Three other young children have been shot earlier this month in Chicago, all innocent bystanders:
- A 7-year-old boy was shot in the neck in Cole Park in the Chatham neighborhood on July 3.
- Jaden Donald, 5, was shot in the chest at Cooper Park in the West Pullman neighborhood early on July 4.
- Quianna Tomplins, 6, was shot while riding a scooter in the Roseland neighborhood July 20. She was at a memorial for a man shot to death on the same street five years ago.
According to eyewitnesses, one or two men emerged from an alley next to the home where the child was hit and began shooting. There are still no suspects in custody for the shooting.
Family members are happy to say that little Khalise is doing better and responding to doctors, but they’re crying out for the violence to end. These children should be allowed to go outside.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)