The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

September 20, 2013

13 wounded in late-night attack on Chicago park

CHICAGO (AP) — A 3-year-old boy who was among 13 people wounded in a late-night attack on a southwest Chicago park was alert when he arrived at the hospital and was apparently doing well, his family and friends said early Friday.

The attack late Thursday in the city's Back of the Yards neighborhood left three victims, including the boy, in critical condition. The others were reportedly in serious or fair condition.

The child's uncle, Julian Harris, told the Chicago Sun-Times that dreadlocked men in a gray sedan shot at him Thursday night before turning toward nearby Cornell Square Park and opening fire. He said his nephew was shot in the cheek.

"They hit the light pole next to me, but I ducked down and ran into the house," Harris said. "They've been coming round here looking for people to shoot every night, just gang-banging stuff. It's what they do."

Police officials declined to discuss details of the investigation. Ron Gaines, a department spokesman, said no arrests had been made and that victims were being interviewed to try to determine the circumstances surrounding the attack, which happened shortly after 10 p.m.

The shooting comes nearly three weeks after Chicago saw an outburst of violence over the Labor Day weekend that ended with eight dead and 20 others injured. Chicago's police superintendent has said that overall violence is down so far this year compared to 2012, when the number of homicides topped 500 for the first time since 2008.

Following a surge in homicides and shootings last year, the police department stepped up its crime-fighting efforts by, among other things, paying overtime to add patrols to some neighborhoods, including the Back of the Yards. Through the first six months of the year, the department's more than $57 million on overtime pay for officers, more than half of it from a program that saturates dangerous neighborhoods with hundreds of officers every night.

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