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CHICAGO (AP) — An 8-year-old Chicago girl who was walking with her mother when she was shot in the head and killed by a gunman targeting someone else on the city’s Southwest Side has been identified.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the victim Sunday as Melissa Ortega of Chicago. A police report said she was walking on the street with her mother Saturday afternoon when 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.
The girl was pronounced dead Saturday at a hospital. The man police believe was the intended target was shot in the back and was hospitalized in critical condition. Authorities did not have an update on his condition Sunday.
No one was in custody Sunday in connection with the shooting.
Police Superintendent David Brown said the department “will not rest until the perpetrators” are brought to justice.
“The tragic and senseless murder of 8-year-old Melissa has shaken our city,” he tweeted Sunday. “There are no words of comfort when a child’s life is cut short. There are no words that can describe the grief of a family.”
The shooting happened amid a spike in homicides in Chicago. Last year was the city’s deadliest in a quarter century, with roughly 800 homicides.
Melissa was a student at Emiliano Zapata Academy, an elementary school in the city’s heavily-Mexican Little Village neighborhood, according to the Chicago Teachers Union.
The girl and her mother emigrated to Chicago from Mexico last year, according to family members organizing an online effort to pay for funeral services expected to be held in Mexico.