2 girls hurt in playground shooting

June 9, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Jocelyn Rodriguez, 7, is in critical condition at Children's Memorial Hospital. A 2-year-old girl is in fair condition. Witnesses say the girls were shot as they played near a sprinkler at Avondale Park.

The girls' families say they are doing better, and one of them may be close to going home. That doesn't erase the outrage their loved ones are feeling.

"You don't do this. This is a child. She's fighting [for] her life now because she wanted to have fun in the park and she couldn't," said Alisa Hernandez, Jocelyn's grandmother.

Hernandez says her granddaughter was just trying to cool down from the heat. She was playing with the 2-year-old girl in the sprinklers behind the Avondale Park District field house Wednesday night when they were both shot. They were hit by bullets intended for a group of teens playing on a nearby basketball court.

Jocelyn was the most severely injured. She was shot in the back.

"She's sedated, but she's really strong. She wakes up, she opens her eyes, she tries to say that she's thirsty," said Hernandez.

"It's hard to see that little girl. She's always active...she's a very happy child. I don't know. It's hard," said Manuel Pintor, grandfather.

Ironically, police were just inside the field house when the shooting happened. They wrapping up a CAPs meeting with nearby residents when witnesses say a purple van drove up to the playground and started shooting.

One of the people at the meeting, Jesus Godinez, says residents been asking for a security camera to be put up in the playground for a while now. Neighbors also want the basketball courts to be removed.

"We've been asking them about putting a camera here, it's more of a deterrent, because you might think twice before you do something," said Godinez.

Godinez says neighborhood residents were denied the camera for budgetary reasons.

Police are still looking for the purple van they believe the gunmen were driving.

Police happened to be inside the fieldhouse at the time of the shooting for a CAPS meeting that was just letting out.

"I heard five shots go off, and they told us everybody hit the floor, and waited a few minutes, and the police officer that was there left the building. We looked outside the windows. I seen a gentleman holding a child that had been shot in the back," said JoAnn Trainer.

Jesus Godinez was at the community policing meeting. He says the neighborhood has been asking the city for a security camera in the park, but says they've been told there aren't enough resources available.

"For one thing, it would be a really good idea having a security camera up for us, like we do over right on Belmont," Godinez said.

The alderman in the 30th Ward has yet to respond to qa request for comment from ABC7.

Residents in the Northwest Side Avondale neighborhood say they want a security camera in the park, but they say they have had no luck getting one from the city.

"This is scary because my daughter is 6, and I don't think I will take her back over there. I don't think I'll go back over there," said area resident Cyndi Rivera.

Police say someone got out of a purple van in an alley and fired shots after gang signs were flashed. Residents heard gunfire just before 8 p.m. Wednesday. Several children were spending a carefree night on the playground when the shooting started. The 7-year-old girl was shot in the back, and the 2-year-old girl suffered a graze wound to the head.

"I was in the back of the house. I heard four shots. I come up and see that kids were running. That's pretty much -- after that the cops came," said Dan Coscinski.

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