Young girls shot in drive-by at Far South Side park

July 11, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The girls, ages 12 and 13, were victims of a drive-by shooting.

Mildred Shorter, the mother of 13-year-old Tishona Polk, says her daughter and her friends were walking near 117th Street and Throop to a cousin's house when a shooter from a car fired on a crowd. The girls were caught in what police say they think was crossfire between rival gangs.

"These are little girls just trying to be little girls and be in the park like little girls do and they get caught up in the crossfire," said Shorter.

The shooting near Cooper Park happened at approximately 7 p.m. Tuesday. In the confusion, the girls separated. Despite being shot in the stomach, Nakia Turner, 12, ran several hundred feet to a newly opened Salvation Army community center, where they immediately called 911.

"We were just really thankful that we would be a place that she would come to for refuge and that we were looked at as a safe haven," said Major Darlene Harvey of the Kroc Community Center.

"[The] car was playing loud music, going back around the corner, over and over again. My daughter said she was just trying to get safely to somewhere that she knew. She felt something wasn't right, and the last time that she went around, she said a guy just started letting off a lot of gunshots," said Shorter.

Polk suffered a gunshot wound to the upper thigh and was treated and released from Roseland Hospital. She was at home recovering Wednesday.

"She is in pain. She just said she is glad it is over with. She is glad she is OK. I was just comforting her. She is just resting right now," Shorter said.

The other victim, identified by family members as Nakia Turner, 12, was shot in the stomach and was listed in serious to critical condition initially at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Her family says her condition is improving.

" She went through two surgeries. They found out that there wasn't anything in internally messed up. So, thank God for that," said Turner's uncle, Corey Henderson. "I spoke with her mother this morning, and she said she is doing fine, just coming back from being sedated. She was talking. She just got her voice back."

Chicago police say they do not believe the girls were the targets of the shooting.

"The gun violence has to stop. They were grammar school kids trying to live a normal life as young ladies, and my daughter got shot and another young lady got shot," said Shorter.

While police were still investigating, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was reaching out. Shorter spoke to him Wednesday morning as her daughter recovered at home.

Shorter said Emanuel wanted to "make sure my daughter OKok and the other young lady was OK, and just different things of what he's trying to do to stop all this."

Shorter says she has only one thing to say to whoever did this: "Turn yourself in because you know what you did. You know who you are. Just turn yourself in."

Members of the anti-violence group Ceasefire responded to the neighborhood Tuesday night to help ease tensions.

"To make sure there is no retaliation from the shooting," said Ceasefire's Bob Jackson.

Police said they did not have any suspects in custody Wednesday. They said they were working to verify the description of the vehicle involved in the shooting.

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