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Two 12-Year-Olds Waiting For Store To Open Hit By Stray Bullets

By  Tanveer Ali Ted Cox and Kelly Bauer | April 11, 2017 4:01pm | Updated on April 12, 2017 9:41am

OLD TOWN — Two 12-year-old boys waiting for an Old Town convenience store to open and a 66-year-old man were shot Tuesday afternoon with bullets meant for a local gangbanger, officials said.

The 66-year-old shooting victim was the maintenance man at a nearby apartment complex where the boys live.

All three of the victims survived, but are hospitalized.

The shooting occurred at 2:41 p.m. in the 1400 block of North Sedgwick Street. It's not immediately clear whether the boys attend Chicago Public Schools, which are on spring break this week.

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) issued a statement late Tuesday saying the two boys were residents of the Marshall Field Gardens apartment complex and the man was on the maintenance staff there, but none of the three was the intended victim of the shooting.

Instead, Hopkins said, "Eyewitnesses have given statements that indicate the intended target was a local individual involved in gang activity and drug sales. Police are pursuing leads, including video surveillance from nearby cameras."

According to Hopkins, "The immediate area surrounding the Marshall Field homes has seen a recent increase in drive-up narcotics sales, where cars stop on Sedgwick, and persons inside the vehicle signal to drug runners, who then approach the vehicle and exchange drugs for cash, occasionally stopping traffic until the delivery is complete. I personally witnessed such a transaction last week at this location, where the dealer walked away from the vehicle blatantly counting his cash in broad daylight."

The boys were taken to Lurie Children's Hospital, where their conditions were not available, but they were listed as "stable," police said.

One of the boys was shot in his chest; the other was shot in his left leg.

The shooting brings to 12 the number of children 13 or younger shot this year in Chicago, a DNAinfo analysis finds.  An 11-year-old boy was shot in West Pullman earlier this week.

The man was shot in his hand and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where his condition was not available, but he was listed as "stable," police said.

The shots were fired from a passing vehicle, police said. The boys reportedly were outside the convenience store waiting for the owner to finish afternoon prayers.

"Too many gangbangers out here," Deborah Thomas, an aunt of one of the young victims, told reporters.

The father of the boy shot in the chest told the Tribune that the bullet went into the child's chest and ended up in his lung. The mother of the other young victim described her son as "in shock."

Hopkins said he had been in touch with Near North Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer and 27th Ward Ald. Walter Burnett Jr., whose ward includes the area.

"Local residents who have witnessed similar incidents, or who may have other relevant information, are urged to call 911," Hopkins said.

Hopkins said if an arrest is made, he'd push for help from local volunteers with the Court Advocacy Program, adding, "Old Town residents must join together to send the message that open drug markets and gun violence will be met with the most aggressive response possible from both law enforcement and civilian community leaders."