DOUGLAS PARK — Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who abruptly left Washington D.C. to return to Chicago in the wake of the mass gang shooting in Back of the Yards, visited the 3-year-old boy severely wounded in the shooting.
The mayor didn't talk to reporters before or after his approximately 40-minute stop to Mt. Sinai Hospital on the West Side. But the Rev. Corey Brooks said he was in the room for the visit. The wounded boy, Deonta' Howard, was heavily sedated and went into surgery at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
"He was very consoling, very encouraging," Brooks said. "He was extremely, extremely encouraging to the mother, trying to make sure that she stays focused.
"It was a very touching meeting, and much appreciated."
Emanuel returned to the city after canceling scheduled meetings with cabinet officials in Washington and an appearance at a rally for Newark, N.J.. Mayor Cory Booker Friday afternoon in Jersey City.
After flying back to Chicago, Emanuel met with police Supt. Garry McCarthy and was then driven to Mt. Sinai to visit the family. After that, he went to the 9th District police station to meet with McCarthy and 9th District Police Commander Joe Gorman. He is also planning to attend a 5 p.m. vigil on the South Side.
Before his return to Chicago, Emanuel issued a statement promising justice.
"The perpetrators of this crime will be brought to justice and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," Emanuel said. "I encourage everyone in the community to step forward with any information, and everyone in Chicago to continue their individual efforts to build stronger communities where violence has no place."