Police investigate child's shooting

March 17, 2010 9:05:50 PM PDT
Police were questioning two possible suspects in the shooting of a 7-year-old girl on the city's South Side Wednesday night.

It happened on the southeast corner of the intersection of 80th and Manistee.

Desaree Sanders was out playing on the sidewalk when she was shot.

Police were talking to the alleged gunman and his alleged accomplice. They say the shooting may have been prompted by a gang dispute.

The scooter Desaree was riding still sits in the grass in front of her grandmother's home. It was surrounded by police activity Wednesday as investigators searched for the gunman who fired about 10 rounds from an alley across the street. One bullet hit Desaree in the forehead above her right eye. She was not the intended target.

"The intended victims were walking on the sidewalk at that point in time. Once the shots were fired, the intended victims took off running eastbound to escape the gunfire, at which time the little girl crossed directly behind them into the path of the gunshots and she was shot in the head," said Cmdr. Eric Carter, Chicago Police Department.

Witnesses say Desaree, who attends Myra Bradwell Academy, was conscious when paramedics arrived. Her family is holding vigil at the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital.

Bullet holes are all over the neighborhood, some from Wednesday's shooting residents say and some from other shootings.

"It is just ridiculous. I can just look at it as if that was my little sister or brother," said one neighborhood resident.

"I don't let my kids play outside. I don't even let them play in the back because the crime, so I try to keep my kids in the house," said another resident.

Police say an off-duty officer happened to be in the area and witnessed the shooting. When the shooter got into a car and drove off, the officer followed and called in. Within minutes, other officers brought the two possible suspects in. Investigators hope nearby police cameras will also have pictures of the suspects.

"We currently have subjects of interest being questioned at the area. At this point in time, we also have the possible intended victims. They're being questioned as well," said Cmdr. Carter.

According to the family, Desaree underwent several hours of surgery and is in stable condition. She is in a medically induced coma. Doctors say it may be several days before they are able to determine whether she has any brain activity.