Girl, 6, shot while playing outside Park Manor out of surgery

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A 6-year-old girl who was shot in the head in Chicago's Park Manor neighborhood is now out of surgery. (WLS)

A 6-year-old girl who was shot in the head in Chicago's Park Manor neighborhood as she played outside with friends Thursday afternoon is now out of surgery.

Zariah Muhammad had surgery at noon Friday to remove bullet fragments from her head. She also got a visit from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"She made it out of surgery successfully. She's up playing, eating, doing what she has to do," Gloria Strong, the girl's mother said.

Strong is grateful her daughter survived. She said the bullet went in right above the girl's left ear and came out just past her spine not hitting very much, just causing surface damage. She came out of the surgery doing well and asking for pizza.

"She's very blessed," she said. "We have a good God on our side."

Zariah and some friends were playing with water balloons near East 68th Street and South Calumet Avenue around 2:30 p.m. Thursday when someone walked up and opened fire, police said.

The child was wounded in the back of her head. She was transported to Comer, where her condition stabilized. She was listed in fair condition Friday morning. Family members who stuck by her side at the hospital said she was smiling and eating.

Doctors operated on Zariah to make sure she doesn't have any permanent damage. The doctors appeared successful in removing bullet fragments from her head.

"It's so sad me, just being a mother and having girls around that age. Thank God she's OK," said Tinisha Strong, Zariah's cousin.

Investigators do not believe she was the intended target. Zariah's uncle, 22-year-old David McCray, was shot in the chest. He was rushed to Stroger Hospital, where he died a short time later.

David McCray

"It is just sad that it is even happening in our neighborhoods in broad daylight. It is two o'clock in the afternoon. Who is thinking about killing somebody? You are supposed to be trying to have fun and enjoy life. Right now, I feel like this generation doesn't value life," said Brian Crawford, a witness.

This has been a violent year for young children in the city. Three children, ages 12 and under, have been killed and 18 wounded in Chicago shootings in 2016.

"Right now we're at a crisis because it's our children and they're getting smaller in age and they're scared," said Andrew Holmes, a community activist.

Zariah is the 18th child under the age of 12 wounded by gun violence in the city this year. Mayor Emanuel visited the little girl Friday afternoon after showcasing a city summer jobs program that serves at-risk youth.

While there, he lashed out at the gangbangers he said hurt Zariah and promised to address Chicago's soaring violence.

"What has happened to our children, unacceptable," he said. "Those who commit those crimes should be held accountable. The future of our city is our youth and we need to make the right type of choices to invest in them."

Zariah's father was also the victim of a gunshot five years ago. He know lives his life in a wheelchair.

The person who shot Zariah is still at large. Anyone with information regarding the shooting should contact Chicago police.
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newschicago shootingchild shotPark Manor
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