A 4-year-old boy who was randomly shot in the head died Sunday from his injuries, police said, one of at least eight children and dozens of other people who were wounded in Chicago over a Labor Day weekend punctuated by gun violence.
The death of the boy, Mychal Moultry Jr., on Friday evening set off a holiday weekend in which police scrambled to investigate scores of crime scenes across the city.
Mychal was getting his hair styled in the front part of a home when two bullets ripped through a window and struck him in the head, said Rahman Muhammad, deputy chief of the Chicago police detective division.
Detectives continued to canvass the area and look for witnesses. "We definitely need the help from the public to further this investigation," Muhammad told reporters Monday.
Besides Mychal, at least three other people were killed over the weekend, and at least 53 were injured by gunfire, police said.
Muhammad shared limited details of some of the nonfatal shootings involving children.
An 11-year-old was grazed by a bullet Saturday and a 14-year-old was hit in the ankle when multiple shots were fired into a crowd at a back-to-school event at a gas station. A 25-year-old person was also shot multiple times.
Bullets tore through a basement window Saturday evening, striking a 13-year-old.
A 14-year-old was involved in a shooting early Sunday as he walked with his father to their car. Also Sunday, a 17-year-old traveling in a car after a party was caught up in gunfire.
The extent of the injuries was unclear, and no suspects were in custody.
Police Superintendent David O. Brown told reporters that shootings involving children typically fall into three categories: Someone else is being targeted while young people are innocent bystanders; the shootings occur at homes while the targeted people are visiting relatives and, again, the children are bystanders; and children are targeted in cases of mistaken identity.
"There are few if any circumstances where our young people are directly being targeted," Brown said.
He implored families to think about the effects gun violence has on Chicago's neighborhoods of color, where the victims are often from.
"Not in a condescending way, I would encourage you as a family to protect your children from people in your family on the wrong side of the law," Brown said.
He also spoke directly to people who are the targets of gun violence.
"Why are you continuing to be around young people — our children?" he asked. "That's on you. We will hold offenders accountable, but why are you living a life of crime involving innocent 4-year-olds?
"Stay away from children if you want to live that life," Brown added. "These innocent young children should not be the byproduct of your criminal behavior."
Brown asked residents to come forward if they have information so the children can have justice, even if they may be wary of police.
The number of shootings in Chicago was about the same in the first seven months of the year as in the same period last year but 67 percent higher than in 2019, NBC Chicago reported. Murders reached 524 in the first eight months of the year, up by 3 percent from the same period last year but 55 percent over 2019, according to police data.
Violent crime is surging in cities across the country, prompting the White House to encourage communities to use Covid-19 relief money to hire police officers and establish new crime prevention programs.
The Justice Department in July chose Chicago and four other cities — New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco — as the focus of the administration's effort to combat gun trafficking.