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Tacarra Morgan, 6, Shot In Englewood, Is Expected To Recover, Police Say

By  Joe Ward Kelly Bauer and Andrea V. Watson | July 19, 2016 2:07pm | Updated on July 19, 2016 7:55pm

 A shooting in West Englewood left a 6-year-old girl seriously wounded on Tuesday, police said.
West Englewood Shooting
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HYDE PARK — The 6-year-old girl caught in an Englewood shoot out Tuesday is out of surgery and expected to survive, police officials said.

At 1 p.m., Tacarra Morgan was shot in her stomach in the 6000 block of South Paulina Street, said Officer Nicole Trainor, a Chicago Police spokeswoman, citing preliminary information. 

The girl was taken to Comer Children's Hospital, Trainor said. She underwent surgery Tuesday afternoon and is "expected to recover," Deputy Superintendent John Escalante said at Far North Side community meeting Tuesday.

Escalante said this type of crime frustrates police, and said he had to compose himself at the scene before talking with media.

"Every child has a right to play on their porch in the summer," he said.

A group of 20-30 family members, including her parents, were gathered at the hospital anxiously awaiting for Tacarra to get out of surgery, activist Andrew Holmes said Tuesday evening.

Holmes said he had been communicating with Tacarra's grandmother.

"They are worried about the child right now," Holmes said. "They are really frustrated and praying for the baby. I can see the frustration in them and on their faces."

The family is "hoping for the best outcome they can get and also some answers from Chicago Police, but most of all the answers from the community on who may know who these individuals are who discharged the weapon," Holmes said outside the hospital.

The girl had been sitting on the front porch of her home when shots erupted, Holmes said, adding that there were about 20 shell cases on the ground.

"Some of the bullets pierced the houses, the windows within a two-block radius," he said. "This bullet hit the baby while she was on the porch with family."

Holmes said no one else was hit as far as he knows and that police are still there working the scene.

"There may be some gang conflict, but definitely an altercation between two groups," Holmes said. "I will leave that up to the police department to determine."

Morgan was in "critical but stable" condition after surgery, said Anthony Guglielmi, a Chicago Police spokesman, in a tweet. Her condition is being monitored "very closely."

A witness to the shooting posted the aftermath live on Facebook. Here, 6-year-old Tacarra Morgan is held witnesses while waiting for an ambulance. [Facebook]

In a video posted to Facebook, a man showed the aftermath of the shooting: A man cradled the girl, her arm wrapped around his back, as police and witnesses walked and talked around the two. Children came over to the girl's side and looked at her.

"This the s--- we got to deal with around here, man," the man taking the video said. "This the type of s--- we dealing with around here every day, man."

The shooters hit everyone but the person they're aiming for, the man taking the video said. He called the shooters "cowards."

"The only person you all hit is a little girl, man," the man said. "They're shooting innocent girls. It's what they do. They shoot little kids, man."

Police put up tape and pushed back onlookers in the man's video, but he swept his camera over the street, saying there had been 40 or 50 shots and shells were all over the road. Nearby, two people imitated the sound of the gunfire: "pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow ... ."

"All these shells just in the street," the man said. "And only one bullet hit one person: a little girl. ... I'm praying to God right now this little girl OK.

"This little girl was just sitting on her porch, playing by herself, when a bullet meant for somebody else just hit her."

The man said nearby homes had also been hit by gunfire, breaking windows.

"This what Chicago done came down to," the man said.

A man who lives in the block said he was in his car when two white vans driving in opposite directions on Paulina opened fire.

He said he heard about 80 shots. Other witnesses confirmed the number of shots. 

"I was about to get out of my car but I ducked," said the man, who asked to remain anonymous. 

"Those kids were out there playing," he said. "It don't make no sense." 

Michelle Thompson stood on the taped off street Tuesday afternoon. She ran out to the scene because her daughter and grandchildren live on the block. She said they weren't hurt and she doesn't know the girl who was shot. 

"Somebody's child," she said as she began to cry. "Kids can't come out to play. It's so sad the way we have to live." 

James Greenlee lives right in front of where the shooting happened. He went out to run an errand and came home to find gunshots in his front window.

"I went to get my prescription and came back and saw all the police," he said. "I said, 'who messed up my blinds?' I know my dog didn't do it."

A bullet ricocheted through his living room and hit the wall above his couch where his fiancée normally sits, Greenlee said.

"This is crazy. A lot of families live on this block," Greenlee said. "I'm getting out. I don't do nothing but go to work and come home." 

Police in a statement Tuesday evening said Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who is in Washington D.C., has been in regular communication with Deputy Superintendent Escalante and Chief of Detectives Gene Roy regarding Tuesday's shooting. Police said Johnson "has directed all resources within the Bureau of Detectives and Bureau of Patrol be dedicated to gathering community intelligence in the case."

"The level of gun violence on the south and west sides of our city is absolutely unacceptable, and it’s appalling when our children are caught in the crossfire of individuals who have no regard for human life," Johnson said in the statement. "To safeguard our neighborhoods and our children, it is imperative that we establish a culture of accountability for repeat gun offenders in Chicago and hold them responsible for senseless gun crime."

Police also will be hosting an "Operation Wake-Up" Wednesday at 8 a.m. at 60th & Paulina to "mobilize the community and our partners in taking a stand against gun violence and helping detectives generate community intelligence to find who is responsible," police said.

Police had no further information on the shooter or girl's condition Tuesday afternoon. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates

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