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Girl, 15, shot near Buckingham Fountain was visiting Chicago for mother’s birthday: ‘There was no regard for life’

The teen was with her family when someone fired shots at their car in the 500 block of Lake Shore Drive.

Sun-Times file photo

A 15-year-old girl was visiting Chicago to celebrate her mother’s birthday Thursday night when a gunman, apparently unprovoked, opened fire and critically wounded her on Lake Shore Drive near Buckingham Fountain.

“The way they shot into the car, there was no regard for life,” community activist Andrew Holmes said. “For me, this was an execution.”

The teen was traveling back to Cicero with her mother and three young siblings after celebrating at the lakefront when a red Ford Expedition pulled up at a red light in the 500 block of Lake Shore Drive around 11:30 p.m., according to Chicago police and Holmes.

When the light turned green, someone in the Expedition began shooting at their truck, police said.

The shooter “was inches away,” according to Holmes, who said he spoke with the girl’s family and saw surveillance video.

Two shots were fired, one through a window and another through a car door, Holmes said. The bullet went through the girl’s shoulder and into her abdomen, he said.

One of the girl’s relatives told officers they had not interacted with anyone in the Ford before the shooting, according to police.

The driver of the truck was unfamiliar with Chicago and drove to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn because it was the only area hospital they knew, Holmes said. She was transferred in critical condition to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, police said.

At an unrelated news conference Friday, Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said the family was confused about where they were when shots were fired. Investigators were still looking for the exact location of the incident.

Holmes said the girl is a straight-A freshman at Morton East High School and is especially close with her mother. “It’s taken a toll on this family, especially the mother,” Holmes said. “They’re a close-knit family.”

Holmes said he was offering a $1,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the shooter. He hoped police could identify the gunman from the numerous surveillance cameras downtown.

“With all the money spent in high-tech cameras, there’s no way they can’t find them,” Holmes said.

Deenihan said the girl was expected to survive but suffered a serious gunshot wound and was still hospitalized as of Friday morning.

Since Thursday of last week, at least 12 people 18 or younger have been shot in the city.