Roseland residents gather after 9-year-old shot

July 6, 2011 9:27:32 PM PDT
A 9-year-old boy was in critical but stable condition Wednesday after a shooting in the city's Roseland neighborhood.

Family members identify the boy as Ivan Burns. Investigators are trying to figure out who shot him in the head at approximately 3:30 a.m. Wednesday near 30 E. 100th Place, just blocks away from where another shooting killed a 17-year-old boy on Monday.

Officers spent the entire morning looking for evidence and talking to neighbors.

Police say as the boy and his father had just finished playing video games, they went outside to their back yard to bring in the family dog, and the shots were fired.

Burns is now fighting to survive.

Meanwhile, community leaders came together Wednesday to speak out against the seemingly random violence.

It is a familiar refrain - neighbors in the Roseland community led by the CeaseFire organization call for an end to the violence.

17-year-old Martell Fields died Monday night, a casualty of gang gunfire.

"My son was innocently shot," said Brenda Copeland, Fields's mother. "From what I'm hearing, the bullet was not intended for him. It's terrible - he will never grow up to do the things he wanted to do."

"Many times, we talk about young people - we all feel that all young people that fall victim to violence are related to gangs," said Rev. A. Edward Davis. "Martell was not in a gang."

The community activists marched from the corner where Fields was shot at 107th and Wentworth to 100th Place and State, near where Burns was shot early Wednedsay morning. Several shots rang out, but police have few leads as to who was the target.

Community leaders are asking for more resources from the government and the business community for education and jobs to help keep young people off the streets and away from gangs.

"The casualties are 9-year-olds, 17-year-olds, and so we have a new mayor, we have a new police superintendent, we have a new administration but the same problems," said Rev. Gregory Livingstone.

Davis, who also lived in the home that Burns lived in, said he was not sure what Burns and his father were doing in the backyard when the boy was shot in the head. He and other witnesses say the heard several shots.

"He was a very smart, active kid. He loved to have fun. He loved talking. He loved going to church," said Davis.

"It sounded like firecrackers. I thought they were still doing fireworks. But I'm not sure what was going on," neighbor and Minister Denis Fletcher said.

Some neighbors were reluctant to talk about the case and gang activity in the neighborhood.

The boy's father returned home late Wednesday morning from Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where Ivan Burns is being treated for his gunshot wound to the head.

Neighbors who know the boy say he is a student at Bennett Shedd school and that he loves hanging out with his father and helping him with chores.

"The boy is a very sweet kid. The father does work at my house sometimes. He always brings his little boy with him," said Franklin Nelson.

"He likes to run with his father all the time. They're always riding their bikes, going places. He takes him to work with him all the time," said Rollins Freeman, also a neighbor.

Roseland activists spoke about the case at the hospital.

"There was gang fire back and forth. We will be talking to gang A and B to try to stop this and make sure there is no retaliation," said Bob Jackson of Roseland CeaseFire.

"This 9-year-old got caught in the crossfire. It is tragic. It is getting hotter and you know what happens in Chicago when it gets hotter," said Livingstone.

Police said Wednesday they are following leads and soliciting more information, but they had no one in custody for either of the shootings.


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