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6-year-old girl shot, critically wounded in West Englewood

A stray bullet hit 6-year-old Tacarra Morgan, who was sitting on her front porch Tuesday afternoon in the West Englewood neighborhood. She was in critical but stable condition on Tuesday evening. | Provided photo

A stray bullet hit a 6-year-old girl who was sitting on her front porch Tuesday afternoon in the West Englewood neighborhood, leaving her in critical condition.

As Tacarra Morgan sat with her mom and grandmother on the front steps of her grandparents’ home in the 6000 block of South Paulina Street about 1 p.m., a shooting began to unfold a block north.

Someone in a white sport utility vehicle opened fire on a group of people standing in the 5900 block of South Paulina, CPD First Deputy Supt. John Escalante said from the scene of the crime.

Several people from the targeted group began running south. The shooter from the white SUV pursued the group and again opened fire.

“Shots were fired southbound, and unfortunately this poor little girl just happened to be out in front of her house,” Escalante said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel stopped by the hospital Tuesday night to visit Tacarra’s family, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

As of 8 p.m., Guglielmi said Tacarra is still in critical but stable condition but that her “post-surgery prognosis is good.”

The girl’s grandfather, Arthur Morris said: “We were told to expect a full recovery. Fantastic. Fantastic.”

“They had to do surgery on her stomach to remove the bullet,” said Tacarra’s grandmother, Johnnie Morris. “She’s sedated now. She will be waking up tomorrow morning.”

“We were sitting on porch because it was hot inside and here come a lot of shots, coming from no where and we ran in the house,” she said.

Tacarra was scrambling for the door when she was hit.

“I didn’t know she had got shot,” the grandmother said. “At first she said, ‘My stomach is hurting.’ ”

“It’s a shame kids can’t play outside,” she said. “They can’t do anything. Every time I turn on the TV some kid is getting shot.”

“My son Anthony sat there with her in his arms until the paramedics came,” she said.

“If you’re the average citizen sitting at home and this doesn’t make you angry, then I don’t know what will because a 6-year old playing on her porch should not have been a victim of this senseless gun violence,” Escalante said.

“Obviously we’re looking at this as possibly and probably gang-related but still working on the identifiers of what gangs were involved,” he said.

Tacarra is the sixth child age 11 or younger to be shot in Chicago in the last three weeks.

Tacarra Morgan’s grandfather, Arthur Morris, points out bulletholes in a front window of his home — just a few feet from where his granddaughter was shot. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times
Tacarra Morgan’s grandfather, Arthur Morris, points out bulletholes in a front window of his home — just a few feet from where his granddaughter was shot. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Arthur Morris didn’t hear the shooting. He had just stepped inside to retrieve a wrench from the basement so he could fix his grandson’s bike.

But he did hear a commotion as he came back upstairs.

“Everyone was saying, ‘Get down. Get down. They’re shooting,’ ” recalled Arthur Morris, who disregarded the warning and rushed outside — but the block was quiet again.

Moments later, with bullet holes in the front window and family members still seeking cover on the ground, Tacarra spoke up.

“She said, ‘I’ve been shot’ and pulled up her blouse and her intestines were coming out,” he said.

“I wish it had been me in place of my 6-year-old granddaughter,” he said.

He mused about what he would do if he found out the identity of the shooter.

“He shot my grandbaby. This family, the Morris family, don’t bother nobody. I’m 76 years old. I’ve never spent a night or a day in jail. I don’t mess with drugs. I ain’t never had a reefer rolled up in my hands to smoke because I hate anybody that mess with that s – – -,” said Morris, a retired steelworker. “Whatever my family needs, I survive and get it. I survive and take care of my family and myself.”

Detectives were trying to determine if a police camera mounted steps from where the shooting occurred captured images of the crime.

It’s possible two other cars traveling behind the SUV may have been involved in the shooting, Escalante said.

Relatives said Tacarra is a bubbly kid who loves jumping rope, riding her bike and acting like she was older than 6.

“We called her ‘Mommy’ because she think she’s the big sister, but she’s the little sister,” said her uncle, Anthony Morris.

Tacarra has three older brothers. Her mother used to work as a maid at a Ramada Inn, but now she looks after her kids full time, Anthony Morris said. Tacarra’s father works as a forklift operator, he said.

On Tuesday evening, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson issued a statement while in Washington, D.C.

“The level of gun violence on the south and west sides of our city is absolutely unacceptable, and it’s appalling when our children are caught in the crossfire of individuals who have no regard for human life,” Johnson said in the statement. “To safeguard our neighborhoods and our children, it is imperative that we establish a culture of accountability for repeat gun offenders in Chicago and hold them responsible for senseless gun crime.”

Contributing: Jordan Owen