McCarthy: Shooting of mom, toddler has gang overtones

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Despite coming off another violent weekend, Chicago police say the number of shootings and murders in the city are down significantly.

One of the most recent shootings involved a mother and baby wounded while sitting in a van on the city’s South Side.

But Monday morning, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the shooting was not random and was gang-related.

Mom and Baby shot near park

News of a decrease in the number of shootings is of little consequence to the Freeman family.

Leslie Freeman and her one year old son are among the latest victims of gun violence in the city as they were simply trying to enjoy Sunday afternoon in the park.

One-year-old Demonte Freeman is one of the latest victims of gun violence.

He was shot in the leg while sitting on his mother’s lap in the family’s van.

27-year-old Leslie Freeman, Demonte’s mother, also was hit in the wrist.

Family members say the bullet caused her arm to shatter in three places.

Witnesses say Demonte and Leslie were with other family members enjoying Sunday afternoon in the Murray Park on 73rd and Wood Streets.

They were resting up in the family van with other women and children when a red van drove by and someone inside opened fire.

Out of the five kids and four women in the van, only Leslie and her son were hit.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said a police investigation contradicts the family’s account of the shooting, “There were gang bangers at the location.  The person who owns the vehicle is a ranking gang banger and the fact is there’s going to be, as we’ve told you in the past, strong gang overtones to this particular issue.”

The shooting comes as Chicago Police release encouraging statistics showing the number of shootings for the first half of the year is down 25% and the number of murders is down 29%.

The police say they haven’t seen numbers this low since 1965.

No arrests have been made in the shooting of Leslie Freeman and her son, but family members are hoping a police camera in the park captured the incident on video.

A $1,000 reward is being offered for information in the case.  People with information can call (800) 883-5587.

Leslie Freeman and her son are expected to be O.K.


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