CHICAGO — Two teens and an 18-year-old man have been charged in the shooting of two girls, 7 and 13, outside Warren Elementary on Friday.
The three were "quickly" found in a stolen car after the afternoon shooting, police said. Raekwon Hudson, 18, and a 16-year-old and 17-year-old have been charged with attempted murder in the first degree, aggravated battery and criminal trespass.
About 1:40 p.m., the girls and other elementary school students were at a playground picnic at the school, 9239 S. Jeffrey Ave., when a car drove up and a person or people inside fired shots, police said. The 7-year-old girl was hit in her right thigh and the 13-year-old girl was hit in her right hand.
The girls, who police described as "unintended targets," were taken to Comer Children's Hospital. Their wounds did not appear to be life-threatening, officials said.
Supt. Eddie Johnson said witnesses helped officers find the car allegedly connected to the shooting within five minutes of the incident.
"This makes me sick," Johnson said after the shooting Friday. "These little kids were trying to have a picnic and they get shot."
Rianna Jackson, who is in eighth grade, said she was hanging out on the the playground before the attack. She was talking with several people who had been expelled from the school and were on the other side of the fence when a black truck pulled up and people inside the car started shooting.
The children dropped to the ground, Rianna said.
"We all hit the ground," an employee at the school confirmed. "It was a drive-by."
About an hour after the shooting, two helicopters flew over the area while a half-dozen officers walked back and forth over the playground. Yellow police tape surrounded the playground.
"Is my baby OK? Is my baby OK?" one woman, her hands in the air, asked as she ran under the police tape.
Other parents ran up to officers, asking if their children were OK, while children left the school. Giara Witiker, who is in the second grade, was outside during the shooting and she heard the shots. The school has practiced what to do in case of a shooting, Witiker said, so she was prepared.
"I thought it was firecrackers at first," she said.
Witiker's brother, third-grader Krishna Grant, said he was inside his classroom when the assistant principal turned off the lights and locked the door.
"I was scared and started crying," he said. "She prayed for us."
Tatianna Smith, who was picking up her niece after the shooting, said gun violence isn't common in the area.
"It's so sad they are shooting into a crowd of children," Smith said.
Johnson confirmed that shootings weren't typical in the area around the school.
CPS Chief Executive Forrest Claypool said Mayor Rahm Emanuel was visiting the children at the hospital.
"I've known the mayor for 30 years. I've never heard him this angry," Claypool said.
He said security would be increased at the school for the last two days of the school year, which ends on Tuesday.
At least 12 other children 13 or younger have been shot so far this year citywide.
Even for children who survive shootings, the city's violence can have a lasting impact, experts say. Children who have suffered trauma like a shooting are more likely to have physical and mental health issues later in life. They may even experience developmental problems because they live in constant "fight or flight" mode.
At the same time, organizations that help traumatized children have seen their resources cut.