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Family Of 4-Year-Old Shot in Jaw First Thought Gunfire Was Fireworks

By  Alex Nitkin and Evan F.  Moore | June 29, 2016 8:12am | Updated on June 29, 2016 12:27pm

 Family said Kavan Collins, 4, was on the road to recovery after suffering a through-and-through gunshot to his jaw. D
Family said Kavan Collins, 4, was on the road to recovery after suffering a through-and-through gunshot to his jaw. D
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DNAinfo/Alex Nitkin / Magen Willis

WOODLAWN — A relative of a 4-year-old boy who was shot in Woodlawn recounted the chaos around the shooting, saying Wednesday that the family first thought the gunshots were fireworks.

At 9:10 p.m., someone pulled up to the Parkway Gardens housing complex in a dark-colored sedan and fired into a crowd standing in front of a building, according to Officer Laura Amezaga, a Chicago Police spokeswoman.

Kavan Collins, 4, was walking with his mom and brother in the complex when they heard loud pops, family said.

"At first they didn't think it was nothing, 'cause boys were letting off fireworks there," said Magen Willis, who identified herself as an aunt of Kavan. "But then [Kavan] started screaming, and he was bleeding. But no one could tell where he was bleeding from."

Deciding that "the ambulance was taking too long," the family drove Kavan to Comer Children's Hospital, Willis said. He was listed in serious condition there, police said.

Kavan had suffered a "through-and-through" gunshot wound to his jaw, but the bullet didn't cause major bone damage, Willis said. As of Wednesday, doctors were taking care to ward off pneumonia or infection.

D'Antignay Brashear, Kavan's mother, told reporters outside the hospital Wednesday that she isn't sure what she will tell her son about what happened.

"I don't have it in me to tell him," she said. "Who would tell their son that? I can't tell him that story. Who is going to explain that to him? The shooter? Is he going to explain what he did?"

Brashear said she's been in the Parkway Gardens several times without any problems.

"It's sad. I can't feel comfortable where I'm at," Brashear said. "It's that you have to look over your shoulder. Kids should be able to play. They shouldn't have to wonder if that's a firecracker or a gunshot."

A 28-year-old woman was lying in her bed when a bullet came through her window and struck her head, Amezaga said. The woman was brought to Stroger Hospital, where she was in good condition, police said.

RELATED: Gangs In Woodlawn 'Truce' Helping Police Catch Child's Shooter, Pastor Says

The Rev. Corey Brooks is offering a $10,000 reward through his Project HOOD neighborhood group for any information leading to the shooter's arrest, he told DNAinfo Wednesday.

"We want everyone to know that if you commit a murder in Woodlawn from this day forward, your name will be turned in, and you're going to go away for a very long time," Brooks said.

Earlier in the neighborhood, around 3:20 p.m., an 18-year-old man was walking in the 6600 block of South Drexel Avenue when someone shot at him from a passing car, Amezaga said.

The man was brought to Stroger Hospital with a gunshot wound in his leg, Amezaga said. Police could not provide his condition but said he was "stable."

Police said the man is a documented gang member.

A shooting had not occurred in Woodlawn since June 19, when 3-year-old Devon Quinn was shot and paralyzed in the 6100 block of South Kimbark Avenue. After that incident, Brooks said he had brought rival gang members together and brokered a truce.

The shooter from Tuesday night was not affiliated with any of the gangs involved in the truce, Brooks said. In fact, he added, the gang members had collaborated to offer up the name of a suspect, who police are now pursuing.

"I'm proud of them, and I'm encouraged that they've been talking and communicating," Brooks said. "The very fact that you have guys in gangs now coming together and trying to help is a good thing."

James Williams, who lives in Parkway Gardens, said he was walking away from the complex Tuesday night when he heard shots ring out.

The area had mostly been quiet, he said, since 15-year-old DeKayla Dansberry was stabbed to death there on May 14.

"And now we got this peace treaty, but it's scary to think it could all start back up again," Williams said.

Williams considered it "possible" that the truce could hold up, but said it would "be hard, and it's gonna take a long time."

"A lot of stuff has been accumulating for a while, a lot of back-and-forth," he said. "So it's like you can only do so much...but people are gonna be the same way."

Brooks, though, said he was "very confident" that the neighborhood has reached a turning point.

"This community is frustrated and tired, and we're starting to come together and do something about it," he said.

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