8-Year-Old Killed by Stray Bullet While Walking With Her Mom
An 8-year-old girl was killed on Saturday after being struck in the head by a stray bullet from a nearby shooting.
Melissa Ortega was out walking with her mother in the Little Village neighborhood in southwest Chicago when the incident occurred, ABC 7 Chicago reported. At around 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, the alleged shooter exited a vehicle near the woman and child and opened fire. It remains unclear what the motivation for the crime was or who the target was, but it has been determined that Ortega and her mother were not the targets.
Ortega’s mother told police that she heard gunfire and then found that her daughter had been hit by a bullet in the head. The girl was taken to the nearby Stroger Hospital for treatment, but was pronounced dead shortly after.
A 26-year-old male was struck in the back by a bullet during the shooting. He was taken to the nearby Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition. Police believe this man to have been the intended target.
Another child, also 8, was in the back seat of a car that got its window shot out during the incident, but was not injured.
Ortega was later identified as a student at the Emiliano Zapata Academy in Little Village.
“Tonight, our union mourns the loss of another student from one of our school communities. This suffering is becoming all too familiar for many of Chicago’s children and families, who our educators nurture and support every day,” a statement from the Chicago Teacher’s Union read. “The Chicago Teachers Union sends its love to Melissa’s family and the Zapata Academy community, and wish them peace and healing from this heartbreaking tragedy.”
A GoFundMe page has been established to help Ortega’s family. As of Sunday morning, it was a few hundred dollars shy of its $20,000 goal.
A witness to the shooting, Angel Ocampo, spoke to ABC 7 Chicago about the incident. Ocampo was at a nearby funeral home when the shooting broke out.
“I just froze and just sat down. I didn’t know what happened. I just sat there,” Ocampo said. “It really isn’t safe. There’s a lot of crime here supposedly and there’s a lot of shootings. This is like gang territory.”
Local Chicago activist Andrew Holmes called on anyone with information about the shooting to come forward and also spoke about the unsafe conditions caused by gun violence.
“I’m asking that area over there and any individual that knows anything about this shooting, stand up for this baby!” Holmes said. “Let’s give this individual up. The baby is coming out of this hospital riding to the medical examiner’s office. This should’ve never happened!
“It’s unsafe, right now. I’m very seriously talking from my heart. It is unsafe. Children can’t run. They can’t play. They want to go to school. They can’t go to school. This girl will never go to school.”