Two Girls, 7, 13, Shot on School Play Ground

Emerson Hart was in Michigan City, Ind. when he was told only that his 13-year-old daughter Dakayla was hurt and in the hospital.

He didn’t know she and another girl, 7, had been shot while at a grade school picnic on the South Side Friday afternoon, she in the thigh and the other girl in the hand.

All he knew was that he had to get back to Chicago. He made the 60-mile trip in 45 minutes.

“It’s a father’s worst nightmare,” he said at Comer Children’s Hospital, where his daughter was taken in serious condition.

When he finally saw Dekayla, he hugged her tight. “We didn’t stand a chance,” she told him.

Dakayla and other children had been celebrating the end of the school year at Warren Elementary School in Pill Hill with water balloon fights, hot dogs, barbecue and volleyball.

Some of the children saw a black car circling the school before a dozen shots were fired shortly after 1:30 p.m. Children screamed and scattered as teachers raced to protect their students at the school at 9239 S. Jeffery Avenue.

Dakayla and the 7-year-old were both taken in serious condition to Comer Children’s Hospital, according to Larry Langford, a spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department.

The abandoned playground was strewn with jump ropes and jackets — and a football with a bullet in it.

Police said the shooting occurred shortly after three suspended students tried to attend the picnic but were removed from school grounds by security. They were hanging out at a corner nearby when someone in the black car opened fire, police said.

The suspended students ran back into the picnic, drawing fire that hit the girls, according to police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

Three “persons of interest” were taken into custody after they were stopped in a car linked to the shooting, Johnson said. It was believed to be stolen.

“It’s just ridiculous,” Johnson told reporters at the scene. “It angers me that these little children cannot grow up and not think that gunfire is the norm … It’s not okay.” Continue Reading

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