The shooting happened around 7 p.m. Friday in the 900-block of Elma.
Police say the child, identified as Eric Galarza Jr., was sitting in the backseat of a car with relatives when shots were fired. When the relatives realized the boy was wounded, they reportedly pulled into a gas station and called police.
The child was taken to a hospital where he died.
Investigators say the shooter specifically targeted the car.
"I don't want the community to think this was a random act, a car driving down the street that was shot up," said Elgin police Chief Jeffrey Swoboda. "The nature of the incident leads us to believe that someone was waiting for this car."
His mother, Denise Galarza, said she can't believe he was taken from the family.
"He was a happy little boy," she said. "He was really bright and he was always talking and we're going to miss him a lot."
Police say they have not made any arrests.