Father, Two Children Shot in Austin Neighborhood

(Chicago Tribune) Moments after getting picked up from a summer camp in the Austin neighborhood Wednesday, 4-year-old Asante Glover III and his sister 6-year-old Keziah Shealy had hoped to find a quick snack before taking a nap, relatives said.

When they left Columbus Park on the West Side around 4 p.m., the siblings spotted a vendor selling crushed, flavored ice, known as “snowballs,” they thought they’d found the perfect summertime treat.

But before they could make their way to buy a cup, a black car pulled up in the 5500 block of West Van Buren Street and someone inside fired shots, hitting the children and their 27-year-old father.

The snowball vendor rushed to their aid, putting the children and their father in the back seat of her truck and speeding to Mount Sinai Hospital.

“My grandson was like, ‘We stopped to get snowballs, granny, and a man just got out the black car and started shooting at us,'” said Marcella Birth, the children’s grandmother.

The children’s mother, Shajaun Sims, a CTA employee, hurried to the hospital where her son was treated for a graze wound to his left hip and left leg and her daughter was treated for a gunshot wound to the thigh.

Meanwhile, their father underwent surgery for eight gunshot wounds, including three to the chest. He was listed in critical condition but was later stabilized, according to police and relatives.

“I never would’ve expected this to happen to my kids,” Sims said. “I’ve seen it many times, but I never would’ve expected this to happen to me.”

“My kids have to live with this for life,” Sims added, her voice breaking.

Though Sims and her children had just moved to Austin about two months ago, the lifelong Chicagoan said she has decided her time in Chicago will be coming to an end, for her children’s future.

“I’m moving far away,” Sims said. “This is it. We are moving. … Our kids will no longer be here. We’re moving for better.”

Asante and Keziah are the latest children in Chicago to be hurt in by the city’s gun violence. So far this year, 15 children age 12 and under have been shot, four of them fatally.

Their relatives say they have reason to believe this shooting was targeted, given that their father, who has a lengthy arrest record, had survived a shooting about a week earlier. Birth said he had recently tried to stop associating with former friends.

“He did a whole 360 from stunting on the corner,” she said. “He did change his life and now they’re trying to kill him.”

Outside the emergency room, the vendor who drove the three to the hospital recounted how fast the scene had turned from an tranquil summer afternoon to a frenzied dash to the hospital.

“All I know was I heard shots and I grabbed the kids and threw them in the car,” said the vendor, the mother of a 6-year-old, who asked that her name not be used. “They were coming to get snowballs. It happened so fast.”

“If I wasn’t there, he probably would’ve bled to death, because he was bleeding heavily,” she said of the children’s father. “I got him here as fast as I could. He was doing good on the way here, so I have faith he’ll be fine.”

En route to Mount Sinai, she continuously talked with the victims in hopes of keeping them calm and “making sure they were still with us.”

“They were scared,” she said of the kids. “They were strong, though … to be shot.”

Outside of the emergency room, the good Samaritan spoke with police, who took crime scene photos of her bloodstained back seat. Though she didn’t meet relatives of the victims, whose name she didn’t even have time to get, Sims said she still owes her a debt of gratitude.

“I thank her,” she said. “It could’ve been a lot worse.”

Article Org: chicagotribune.com

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