CHICAGO (WLS) --Police are investigating a shooting in the Humboldt Park neighborhood that injured two men and a 10-year-old girl.
Police said a man walked up to the victims while they were sitting on a porch in the 4100-block of W. Potomac and fired shots before fleeing on foot.
Police said 10-year-old Etyra Ruffin suffered a graze wound to her left arm and was taken to Norwegian American Hospital in fair condition. Her father, 30-year-old Travis Ruffin, is in serious condition after he was shot in the left leg, arm and chest, police said. His friend, 25-year-old Steve Smith, is in fair condition after being shot in both ankles, police said.
A bandage covered the graze wound after she was released from the hospital. Ruffin was sitting with her father, his friend and some other relatives on the front porch of her grandmother's home when the family said an unknown attacker suddenly appeared and shots rang out.
"I just heard this, then I saw my daddy was on the ground so I ran in the house and then, like, his friend, like, had, like, got, like got shot twice, and I got shot in my arm," Etyra said.
"All of a sudden, you know, we heard pow, pow, pow, pow! And my uncle was like, 'I'm shot! I'm shot!'" said Tyeaisha Bender, Etyra's cousin.
"Every day there's a shooting," said Etyra's mother.
Police said the two men are documented gang members. They said Etyra was not an intended target.
"They're not going to say it's gang related, but in my conversations it's gang related," said 37th Ward Alderman Emma Mitts.
As Etyra gets ready to start fifth grade, she pleads for the violence in her neighborhood to end.
"Stop shooting," she said.
In Chatham Thursday night, people gathered to march for peal. And head of Labor Day weekend, some are appealing to college students to stay at school.
"We've been asking for the college kids to stay at college and don't' come home, because the violence is so bad in Chicago," said Pam Bosley of the Terrell Bosley Anti-Violence Association.
In Chicago's Austin neighborhood residents took a small step in taking their streets back from the violence.
"We have to save each other and become one," said June Williams, who has lived in the area for 50 years.
"We live here, we go to school here, we go to church here, we shop here. This is our community. We need to be involved in taking our community back," said Sharon Hartshorn, another resident of Austin.
Along with volunteers from the United Way and Wells Fargo, the South Austin Neighborhood Association cleared a garbage-filled lot to make way for a veteran's peace garden and a safe space for resident fearful of gun and gang violence.
"Some people feel like they're at war here in their own communities, and when they look and pass by here and walk into the garden we want them to feel a sense of calm," said Cassandra Normal, South Austin Neighborhood Association.
It's a feeling not often felt in that neighborhood, especially after a month that ended as the city's most violent in 20 years.
Elected officials, community activists and clergy are hoping a series of town hall meetings in endangered neighborhoods will help. But Rev. Paul Jakes says it's not enough. He wants bibles in school libraries and church ministries to take the message of non-violence to the streets.
"It's about people have some laws of life, some moral principles to understand how to live," Jakes said.
Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st District) and the Reverend Jesse Jackson, leader of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, plan to hold nine town hall meetings starting Sept. 13 in high-crime areas on Chicago's South and West sides.
The first three meetings have been scheduled, while the remaining dates will be announced later:
- Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.: New Mt. Pilgrim Church, 4301 W. Washington Blvd.
- Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 6 p.m.: Greater St. John's Church, 1256 N. Waller Ave.
- Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m.: Hope Church, 1354 W. 61st St.