WGN EXCLUSIVE: Family of 6-year-old shot speaks out; ‘It hurts my soul, it hurts my heart’

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CHICAGO -- Police are looking for the people responsible for a drive by shooting that wounded a 6-year-old-girl.

That girl is still in critical condition, according to her family, which spoke exclusively with WGN News.

The latest face of gun violence in Chicago, 6-year-old Jaylene Bermeo, a first grader at Chase Elementary, is fighting for her life inside Stroger Hospital after being hit by a bullet during a drive by shooting last night.

Her aunt spoke exclusively with WGN, and asked us not to reveal her identity for fear of retaliation.

“It went through her back and it came forward, and it hit a lung, which she came in with a collapsed lung,” the aunt said.

Police say gangs are likely responsible. Police called the home in 2100 block of north Bingham Street in Palmer Square a known gang hangout.

“It hurts my soul,” the girl’s aunt said. “It hurts my heart to know that I just recently have been reading everything and it gets closer and closer to home, and the fact that it hit inside my home, it’s even more painful, but it makes everything more real.”’

One neighbor said the home where it happened has been a constant problem for the otherwise quiet block.

“This block has always had numerous children on it, it was only a matter of time before something tragic like this happened where a young kid got caught in the crossfire,” the neighbor said. “It’s been a party house for years, and unfortunately the gang members that hang over there … they’re always in conflict with the gang members on the other side of Armitage.”

Alderman Proco Joe Moreno’s office is working with the police on the investigation, and community activists are asking witnesses to come forward.

“I have been cooperating to address issues at this location prior to this tragic incident. Police are recovering video footage from nearby residents and a nearby OEMC camera," Ald. Moreno said in a statement.

“This may be retaliation from another shooting. But at the same time, look who got hit,” said community activist Andrew Holmes.

Said the aunt, “To know that these people are out here and shooting blindly, with no care in the world about children, families, animals, it’s disgusting.”

Jaylene Bermeo would have been performing in a dance recital today – her aunt says it’s her favorite activity. Instead the 6-year-old faces a long recovery.