CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police are investigating after a 12-year-old boy was shot while celebrating his grandmother's birthday Tuesday on the city's Southwest Side.
The boy was left in "extremely" critical condition after being shot in the head during an apparent "random act of violence," according to police.
The boy and his uncle were returning to a family party in the 1800 block of West 21st Place when they saw three cars circling the area, Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan told reporters at police headquarters Wednesday.
Detectives said the trouble began around 10:30 p.m, shortly after the elementary school student and his 21 year old uncle walked back to the party after going to a nearby store to buy a game and noticed three vehicles circling in the area.
Two people then fired shots from a nearby alley, striking the boy.
The boy's uncle, who is a conceal carry license holder, returned fire but doesn't think he shot anyone.
The boy was hit in the right side of the head and was rushed to Stroger Hospital, police said. He remained in "extremely" critical condition, Deenihan said.
Officers tried stopping one of the cars that was seen circling the block but it "fled at a high rate of speed," Deenihan said. A police helicopter tracked it to Hinsdale, where local police officers stopped it and took three people into custody.
"This is just extremely tragic," Deenihan said. "The people we have in custody are gang members. We believe that they were just shooting at this individual because they didn't recognize him from the neighborhood."
Investigators say neither the boy nor his uncle have any gang affiliations.
However, Deenihan acknowledged that investigators don't "have enough information to say that these are the defendants in this case" as he called for the public's help.
Anti-violence advocate Andrew Holmes also hopes someone in this neighborhood will come forward to help police find the dangerous and violence gunman responsible.
"Two individuals ran up and discharged that weapon and then fled. Hopefully they ran into someone's doorbell, ring camera security or the pod camera," he said.
Tipsters can confidentially submit information at CPDTip.com.
Officials say they are still investigating whether those now in custody were involved in the shooting.
The Sun-Times Media report contributed to this post.