CHICAGO — Mourners remembered an 8-year-old girl killed in a Little Village shooting months after emigrating to Chicago Sunday.
A memorial grew close to where shots rang on Saturday on the West Side. Police say 8-year-old Melissa Ortega was walking to Walgreens with a guardian just before 2:45 p.m. Saturday when a bullet struck her in the head.
Paramedics took the young child to Stroger Hospital in critical condition. Melissa later died from her injuries.
The shooting in the 4000 block of West 26th Street also injured a man in his 20s, according to police.
A police report said someone fired shots at a 26-year-old alleged gang member who was leaving a nearby store, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Police believe he was the intended target.
Paramedics transported the wounded man to Mount Sinai Hospital initially in critical condition. As of Sunday, doctors gave no update on his condition.
A few months ago, the little girl had seemingly moved to Chicago from Mexico with her mother, settling in the Little Village neighborhood while attending Emiliano Zapata Academy.
Many in the community gathered Sunday for prayer. Frustrated residents told WGN News something must change.
“I’m a firm believer when one mother is grieving, we should all be grieving,” said vigil attendee Marisol Cruz. “That could very easily have been my child or someone else. At some point, we need to come together and find a solution. Something needs to be done. We’ve normalized this and our city is so much better than this.”
The Chicago Teachers Union released a statement Saturday night, saying, “Tonight, our union mourns the loss of another student from one of our school communities. This suffering is becoming all too familiar for many of Chicago’s children and families, who our educators nurture and support every day. The Chicago Teachers Union sends its love to Melissa’s family and the Zapata Academy community, and wish them peace and healing from this heartbreaking tragedy.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also sent out a series of tweets on Sunday, offering condolences to the family, saying, “We cannot let fear cause us to lose our humanity. Please come forward so that Melissa’s family will know there is justice for her.”
Anyone with information can leave an anonymous tip at cpdtip.com. A GoFundMe for the 8-year-old’s funeral expenses has raised more than $31,000.