Boy, 7, fatally shot and woman hurt in Humboldt Park

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Amber Hailey, mother of 7-year-old Amari Brown, is consoled during a vigil Sunday in Humboldt Park. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Though her 7-year-old son, Amari Brown, was killed hours earlier by a gunshot wound to the chest, Amber Hailey used the power of prayer to communicate with him during a vigil held Sunday at the scene of the shooting in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

“Mommy’s so sorry, baby. . . . Lord Jesus. . . . My baby,” she said, her hands held to the sky. “I’m so sorry Amari. Mommy is so hurt, baby.”

RELATED: Bullet that killed boy was meant for father, McCarthy says

Relatives held Hailey, 28, as she cried.

“For you people who have kids . . . be with your kids. Tell your kids you love them. . . . This is unbearable pain. I wish this on nobody, not my worst enemy,” she said.

Amari and a 26-year-old woman were shot while standing in the 1100 block of North Harding shortly before midnight Saturday, Chicago Police said. The woman was shot in the chest and taken to Stroger Hospital, where her condition had stabilized.

The two were among victims in 62 total shootings — nine of them fatal — over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

MAP: Chicago holiday weekend shooting tracker for July 2 – 5

“Seven-year-old Amari Brown was the unintended victim of a bullet that was meant for his father,” Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said at a news conference Sunday afternoon, referring to Antonio Brown, 29. “His father is a ranking gang member with 45 previous arrests who is not cooperating with this investigation. He has had numerous and frequent encounters with the police.”

Antonio Brown attended the vigil Sunday, where the Rev. Ira Acree, pastor of St. John Bible Church, led about 60 people in prayer.

Acree’s church posted a $1,000 reward for information that helps police capture the shooter.

“There were several people around that witnessed this heinous act, and we know somebody knows something. The police cannot do it alone,” Acree said. “We must have help from the neighbors. And anyone who harbors a person in their home that kills a child is also an accomplice to the crime.”

Amari’s father was standing on the front porch when the shooting happened, police sources said.

Earlier Saturday, Amari was riding his scooter up and down on the 500 block of North Drake, where he lived with his maternal grandmother, Vedia Hailey, 52, and several relatives in Humboldt Park.

“Just a regular barbecue, having fun, eating,” Vedia Hailey said. Amari “was playing up and down the street, riding the scooter.”

Amari was to start second grade at Leif Ericson Elementary Scholastic Academy, relatives said.

He was a “goofy” child with a big imagination, according to his second cousin, Diamond Trusty, 18.

The Ninja Turtles fan loved playing sports, watching movies and performing plays he would make up, Trusty said. He was “the best dancer,” Trusty said, especially when he showed off his moves to the DLow Shuffle and the Nae Nae.

“It’s crazy. Like who would shoot a 7-year-old? He got shot in the chest. Who would do that? To a baby?” Vedia Hailey asked. “All the kids that are getting killed out here — it’s crazy. When is it going to stop?”

Seven-year-old Amari Brown was killed and a 26-year-old woman was injured in a shooting in the 1100 block of North Harding early Sunday, July 5, 2015. | Ashlee Rezin/For Sun-Times Media

Seven-year-old Amari Brown was killed and a 26-year-old woman was injured in a shooting in the 1100 block of North Harding early Sunday, July 5, 2015. | Ashlee Rezin/For Sun-Times Media

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