Surveillance video shows 3 shooters open fire in deadly Back of the Yards mass shooting | EXCLUSIVE

Chicago police open South Side emergency assistance center to support victims of violent crimes

Thursday, April 18, 2024
Deadly South Side mass shooting caught on surveillance video
Three shooters in a deadly Back of the Yards mass shooting Saturday on Chicago's South Side can be seen opening fire in a new surveillance video.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Surveillance video obtained by ABC7 Wednesday shows a deadly mass shooting over the weekend that killed a 9-year-old girl and left 10 other people injured.

The shooting happened Saturday near 52nd Street and Damen Avenue in the city's Back of the Yards neighborhood.

The pictures in the surveillance video are chilling. Three people can be seen walking casually to the corner of 52nd and Damen, carrying guns.

"I didn't know if they were gonna survive or if they were gonna be gone forever. That was the worst time of my life."
Monica Mendez, mother of young boys wounded in shooting

In moments, they all open fire in the direction of a family gathering next to a house several-hundred feet down the street. Police said at least 76 shots were fired.

One shot shattered the window of a car parked on the street. Another bullet hit a house. The bullets also struck 11 people at the party, including 9-year-old Ariana Molina, who later died.

One of the final gunshots hit a streetlight, darkening the area.

Police told ABC7 they have reviewed the security camera video of the shooting.

READ MORE | Vigil held after Back of the Yards mass shooting kills 9-year-old girl, wounds 10 others

The aftermath has been heartbreaking for relatives who were having a family celebration when the gunfire began.

The surveillance video suggests the shooters were not in a vehicle, but they simply walked up the street.

In front of the South Side house where the family gathered Saturday, the community continues to add to the huge memorial with balloons, flowers and pictures, even as several of the victims continue to recover in hospitals.

Two young children who were injured in the shooting, 1-year-old Aaron and 7-year-old Isaiah, continued to recover in the ICU at Comer Children's hospital Wednesday.

The boys' mother, Monica Mendez, spoke with ABC7 about their condition. She's now praying for justice and said her family will never be the same after this.

"I didn't know if they were gonna survive or if they were gonna be gone forever," Mendez said. "That was the worst time of my life."

She recalled the moment the gunfire started.

"I grabbed the baby and I ran, and then I fell with the baby, and in my head I'm like, 'where's my eldest child?'" Mendez said. "I couldn't run for him because I had the baby with me."

In the surveillance video, an ambulance can be seen arriving at the scene five minutes after the shooting. Several more emergency vehicles arrived shortly afterward.

"It was so quick... everything was so fast, and they saved them," Mendez said. "I'm so thankful for that."

Among the adults who were injured is 36-year-old Ismael Benitez, who remains hospitalized in critical condition.

The mother of 9-year-old Ariana Molina was also shot. She was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon and is back home tonight. She and her husband now have the heartbreaking task of planning their daughter's funeral.

Mendez hopes police can find the three people seen in the surveillance video very soon.

"They need to be where they deserve to be... prison, for the rest of their lives... for what they did to Ariana, and what they did to my kids... what they did to everybody else who got wounded," Mendez said.

Chicago police said they are continuing their investigation. So far no one is in custody. They have encouraged witnesses or anyone with information about the shooters to come forward.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Police Department opened an Emergency Assistance Center Wednesday for victims of violent crimes on the South Side.

The center at the Richard Daley Academy will be to support people affected by recent violent crimes, and includes those impacted by the Back of the Yards mass shooting.

READ MORE | After Back of the Yards mass shooting, CPD Supt. Snelling wonders, 'Where's the outrage?'

Superintendent Larry Snelling said the social services provided there mark the first step of recovery for the community.

"We'll continue to do the job that the people you see standing here with me do on a regular basis," Snelling said. "Reaching out to these families, letting them know these services are available to them."