CHICAGO (WLS) -- A 7-year-old boy who was struck by a stray bullet while inside his Humboldt Park home Wednesday night has died, Chicago police said.
Chicago police said officers responded to the 2600-block of West Potomac Avenue shortly before 8:30 p.m. and found the boy inside a home with a gunshot wound to the stomach.
Police said they received multiple calls of shots fired near Rockwell Street and Potomac, shortly followed by another call specifically about the child. Police believe there was a shooting in the alley behind the home, and said they found multiple shell casings there.
Neighbors said they heard at least 20 shots Wednesday night.
"This could've been me, this could've been my child," said Jimmy Vilma, neighbor. "I think it's senseless killing. You should be safe in your own bathroom."
Police said a family member told them the boy was in the bathroom when a bullet came through the window and struck him. Police said they do not believe anyone inside the residence was an intended target of the shooting.
"It's tragic. Any person that's shot in the city is tragic. When it's a young child like this, an innocent child, allegedly under the safety of their own home, it's direly tragic, something that we take seriously," Detective Chief Ron Pontecore said. "We're going to deploy a lot of resources to the area to try and get to the bottom of this and find out who is responsible for this."
The child was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition. He underwent surgery and police said he died at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday.
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office identified him as Akeem Briscoe.
"Life is not fair. Innocent kids shouldn't be getting killed," said Terribia Misters, Briscoe's uncle, fighting through tears. "Man, he was waiting to go on a field trip today. He asked me, 'Uncle Tibbs, you should come with me.' I can't go with him because he ain't here."
The child's mother, brother and sister were in the house when the gunfire erupted. The family is now planning to bury a child four days after they buried his father, who just died from a medical condition.
"My sister is super grieving. Her husband died, now her son; it's just, man, it's not fair to her," Misters said.
"They're honest people that work hard and want to make a better lives for them and everything, and to have this is just absolutely heartbreaking," said family friend Charles Wu.
The family is pleading with the public to help police find out who did this, as people have been coming by the house to start a memorial.
"If you got a soul or something inside your body, turn yourself in, man. He was loved by a lot of people, so that should tell you something," Misters said.
Police said they are reviewing private video of the incident and are asking anyone else with video or information to contact them at 312-746-6554. Callers can remain anonymous.
"There are people out there right now within the sound of my voice who know exactly what happened. You must, must come forward," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
No one is currently in custody. An investigation by Area Five detectives is ongoing.
Linda Foley, principal of Newberry Math and Science Academy where Briscoe attended, said in a letter to families, "It is with deep sadness that we inform you about a recent loss to our school community. On Wednesday, October 26, one of our beloved second grade students, Akeem Briscoe, passed away. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time. This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for the entire school, especially our students.
"The Chicago Public Schools' Crisis Management Unit is working with us to provide grief counseling and support to students and staff members. We will continue to work closely with this team and our staff will be available for students who need ongoing services.
"Information about the funeral service will be made available as soon as we have it. If your child wishes to attend, we strongly encourage you to accompany them to the service. If the funeral is scheduled during school hours, students who wish to attend will need parental permission to be released from school.
"We are saddened by this loss and will do everything we can to help you and your student."
In a separate and unrelated shooting just minutes later on the South Side, a 15-year-old boy was killed.
Chicago police said the teen was walking outside at about 8:45 p.m., near 77th Street and South Vernon Avenue in Chatham, when he was shot by a gunman traveling in a white Jeep.
The teen was shot multiple times in the leg and torso and rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition, but police said he ultimately did not survive his injuries.
No one has been caught. Area Two detectives are investigating.
The statistics have become staggering.
According to ABC7 Chicago data, 298 children have been shot, 41 fatally, so far this year.