The gun violence in the streets of Chicago claimed the lives of three minors – with two others wounded in the mayhem – over the past week alone.
Ten-year-old girl Lena Marie Nunez was killed when a stray bullet shattered the window and struck her head while she was inside her second-floor family apartment in the 3500 block of West Dickens on Saturday night. The charred glass wounded her 8-year-old cousin, police said.
That same day, a 20-month-old baby, Sincere Gaston, was shot dead in broad daylight while strapped in a car seat alongside his mother in the Englewood neighborhood. Hours earlier, a 17-year-old boy died of a gunshot wound after becoming implicated in a fight while in a "large crowd," authorities stated.
"Too many times children are killed," Police Chief Fred Waller said at a news conference after the 20-month-old died. "It seems like just yesterday, and it was actually last Saturday, I was in front of you all talking about a 3-year-old kid. … When is this gonna stop?"
But just two hours after the killing of Nunez, another 8-year-old girl in the West Englewood area – also inside a home as per local media reports – when a random bullet came through the window and grazed her head. She was immediately transported to Comer Children's Hospital, where she is said to be in a "fair condition."
The incidents remain under investigation.
Moreover, the tragic spate of shootings come less than a week after 3-year-old Mekhi James was killed on Chicago's West Side, the victim of a drive-by shooting.
"Through last Sunday, the city saw a jump of more than 25 percent in the number of homicides, reaching 295, which is 60 more than the same period a year ago," the publication wrote. "Ninety-six of those occurred during a 28-day stretch that covered most of June, the statistics show."
Julio Rivera, editorial director for crime and politics digital publication Reactionary Times, said that crime in Chicago is reaching deeply concerning levels.
“Overall Crime in May of 2020 versus May of 2019, 2020 has been a particularly violent year as the 1,127 shooting victims through May of 2020 represent a 30 percent increase versus 2019,” he told Fox News. “It has only gotten worst in June, climaxing with Chicago's most violent weekend since 2012 between 6 p.m. Friday, June 19th and 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 21st, that saw at least 106 people shot, with at least 14 fatalities.”
But with the pending July 4 weekend ahead, notoriously the worst few days for violence in the Windy City, the worst may still be yet to come.
But especially tragic in the city's protracted gun violence are the young victims caught in the crossfire.
For one, prominent Chicago activist Diane Latiker has erected a shrine in memory of Chicago's children killed by bullets – adorned with hundreds of names embossed into stones and the jarring reality that there are now more names to engrave.
"It's like it takes a piece of your soul," Latiker told the local Fox 32 affiliate. "Because whoever is on that stone, somebody loved them."