Jacele Johnson began breathing on her own and calling out for her parents Sunday as doctors upgraded her condition to serious, according to the 4-year-old girl’s aunt and officials at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital.
Someone shot the South Side girl in the head during a drive-by Friday night in the West Englewood neighborhood. Her mother was just about to move her family to Minneapolis to escape Chicago’s violence.
Marcella Gresham, Jacele’s aunt, said doctors removed breathing tubes from her niece on Sunday. And that meant the little girl could talk again.
“She’s calling out for her dad and her mom,” Gresham said, adding that both parents remained at Comer Children’s Hospital with their daughter.
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Trennetta Gresham, the girl’s mother, has said she had planned to see a relative off to her high school prom Friday night. But after she arrived at a pre-prom party in the 7000 block of South Justine, one of her friends took her car without her permission and returned about 30 minutes later. Jacele jumped inside, she said.
Ten minutes after that — about 8 p.m. — Trennetta Gresham said another car pulled up and someone opened fire.
Jacele’s 17-year-old cousin and a 15-year-old girl standing on a sidewalk nearby also were wounded in the shooting.
Trennetta Gresham’s family had been staying at her mother’s house on the South Side for about three months. She had just come back to Chicago from Minnesota and said she had signed a lease for a home in Minneapolis after her plans to open a salon and daycare center in Chicago didn’t work out.
The family was set to move to Minneapolis on Tuesday.