A 7-year-old girl died Saturday after being shot at a family Fourth of July party in Austin — the third weekend in a row in Chicago that’s seen a child under 10 among the city’s shooting victims.
The girl was playing on a sidewalk around 7 p.m. in the 100 block of North Latrobe Avenue when three men got out of a white car and shot more than 20 times in the direction of the people holding the party, a group that the police said included many children.
She was visiting her grandmother’s house for the family party.
“There were kids riding by on bicycles . . . enjoying the Fourth of July, as they should have been,” said Fred Waller, the Chicago Police Department’s chief of operations.
The girl, identified by her family as Natalia Wallace, was shot in the forehead and pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital. An autopsy by the Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled her death a homicide.
“On a day when families should be celebrating, having a good time, spending time together, a 7-year-old girl was taken from us,” Waller said.
He said the police have video evidence from the scene.
“Tonight, a 7-year-old girl in Austin joined a list of teenagers and children whose hopes and dreams were ended by the barrel of a gun,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Twitter. “We cannot grow numb to this. We are making progress in slowing shootings, but we have to do better, every single one of us.”
Natalia was funny, outspoken and loved to be outside, according to her family. She loved to pose for pictures and was quick to give a kiss on a cheek.
“For her life to be cut down for no reason, it’s ridiculous,” her father Nathan Wallace said outside Stroger Hospital.
The police said a 32-year-old man suffered a graze wound in the barrage of bullets and was in fair condition at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Dozens of shell casings littered the street as people sat on their porches watching police officers work, and a steady stream of fireworks went off.
A week earlier, 1-year-old Sincere A. Gaston was killed when someone opened fire on his mother’s car as they drove home from a laundromat in Englewood.
The week before that, 3-year-old Mekhi James was fatally shot while riding in an SUV with his father in Austin when someone opened fire on them from another vehicle.