3 teens shot in Rogers Park

September 13, 2011 9:36:37 AM PDT
Police are searching for a gunman who shot three teens in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood on the Far North Side.

One victim is just 13. The three were wounded near Ashland and Pratt.

The 13-year-old victim's mother said he is expected to survive. Javanis Barksdale is an eighth grader who loves to swim. Pameya Campbell says her son is a good kid growing up in a troubled area.

Pameya Campbell has been by her son's side at Children's Memorial Hospital all night. Javanis was shot in the chest.

Campbell says he's an innocent victim of senseless street violence.

"It's still overwhelming to me, but I am trying to be strong for my children," she said.

Javanis remains in serious condition. A 15-year-old with a graze wound and a 19-year-old with a gunshot wound to the arm were both released from the hospital by late Tuesday morning.

Some residents in the area were inside their homes Monday around 7 p.m. when they heard the shots, looked out their windows and saw people running. The gunman was on foot.

"There wasn't no cars because we didn't have any cars, but my neighbor said they were running through the alley. Who knows? We know they came from this way because they wouldn't have come from that way," said Phillip Robinson.

Police have not provided a motive for the crime, but residents say the street has become a dividing line between two rival gangs.

"That corner, Clark, you have the Hispanic gangs, Ashland, you have the black gangs, but then there's so many children in the midst of all of that," Campbell said.

Campbell says her son is not in a gang, but she believes the neighborhood is overrun with them and claims the situation is getting worse. She feels police focus mostly on the South and West sides of the city, ignoring problems in Rogers Park.

"It's not enough police. If you know it's a high crime area, and it has been since I was a teenager, why is there not enough patrol?" Campbell said.

Alderman Joe Moore, 49th Ward, says considerable progress has been made over the last 10 to 15 years to improve the neighborhood, citing a dramatic decrease in crime. He does say that there have been a few recent incidents of shots fired in the past few weeks.

"I do know that the police have stepped up their patrols in this area. We have a very proactive police commander who has been analyzing the crime stats and the calls for service to make sure officers are deployed most effectively," Moore said.

Detectives spent several hours looking for clues and talking to witnesses. So far, they say they have few leads.

"The police are doing the best they can. I have to give them credit. Every time I come out, they're riding around, but they can't be everywhere at once, and with the crime now, you can't stop the killing," said Robinson.

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