7-year-old in Chicago shot, killed while celebrating Fourth of July

CHICAGO -- A 7-year-old boy was shot and killed Saturday night while celebrating the Fourth of July with his family on the city's West Side.

At least seven people have been shot to death in Chicago this holiday weekend and Sunday evening, police superintendent Garry McCarthy answered questions about this latest rash of violence.

While McCarthy outlined the violence over the holiday weekend, he also specifically addressed the murder of 7-year-old Amari Brown of the East Garfield Park neighborhood. McCarthy said the boy's father, who he referred to as a "ranking gang member," was the intended target of the attack. He also said the father is not cooperating with the investigation.

Amari was standing with an unrelated 26-year-old woman on the sidewalk in the 1100-block of North Harding Avenue in the Humboldt Park neighborhood just before midnight Saturday when shots rang out.

The boy was shot in the right side of the chest and taken by his father to Cook County Hospital, where he died. The woman was also shot in the chest and was listed in stable condition.

Amari's mother, Amber Hailey, grieved for her son as her family made a plea for the person who gunned down the child to turn themselves in.

"You might as well turn yourself in because this 7-year-old, our family member, did nothing to you," Deirdre Holman said.

The child's family made their demand during a Sunday afternoon prayer vigil on the sidewalk of the Humboldt Park neighborhood where the boy was killed.

"We must get them off the street," said Rev. Ira Acree. "In fact, that person is a coward."

Pastors with the Leaders Network pledged $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.

"None of us will be safe until all of these children are safe," said Rev. Marshall Hatch.

Sunday afternoon, police sources said the attack was gang-related, but that neither Amari nor the other woman hit were the intended targets.

"His father is ranking gang member with 45 previous arrests, who is not cooperating with this investigation," said McCarthy.

As a family mourns the second-grader, a community mourns too, as there is yet another call for the violence to end.

"And until that happens, all of you all will be out here next week, on another corner, filming the same thing, filming somebody else saying exactly what I'm saying," said Michael Singleton.

As of Sunday afternoon, no one is in custody for the murder of Amari Brown and no arrests have been made.
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