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Girl killed, 10 injured at confirmation party in Chicago mass shooting

People grieve at the scene Sunday, April 14, 2024, after Ariana Molina, 9, was shot and killed Saturday evening during a family celebration in front of their home in the 2000 block of West 52nd Street in Chicago. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS)  (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
By Avani Kalra Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO – A 9-year-old girl was killed and 10 others were injured in a shooting Saturday evening in Chicago’s New City neighborhood, police and the girl’s father said Sunday.

Chicago Police Department officers responded to West 52nd Street and South Damen Avenue after an alert on ShotSpotter, a network of sensors that reports gunshot noises, detected shots fired around 9:18 p.m. Three children were injured and three people remain in critical condition, police said.

Jose Molina said his daughter, Ariana Molina, 9, died from a gunshot wound to the head after being transported to a nearby hospital. Molina said his family had gathered in the front yard of a church for his sister’s confirmation and were about to cut the cake when shots were fired. He said he found his daughter lying in the grass.

“Ariana loved to play around,” Molina said. “She used to like to do braids, and she loved her brothers. She was just a wonderful girl.”

Molina said he suffered a gunshot to the foot, and his wife was hospitalized after a gunshot to her shoulder. His two nephews and his son’s two god-siblings were also shot Saturday night.

According to Chicago Police, a 1-year-old boy and an 8-year-old boy were shot multiple times in the abdomen and remain in critical condition. Jose Molina said their condition has improved.

A witness reported that a vehicle approached the group and fired shots into the crowd before driving away, according to authorities. Seven adults were also injured in the shooting, ranging from the ages of 19 to 40. Police said Sunday that Area One detectives are investigating the incident, though no one is in custody.

At a news briefing at the scene, Deputy Chief Don Jerome said the shooting was likely an act of gang-related violence.

“The offenders’ actions, make no mistake, are horrific and unacceptable in our city,” Jerome said.

Molina said his family has lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years and were in the process of buying a house elsewhere.

“We were just a little too late,” Molina said. “At this point, we would’ve moved anywhere because of the gun violence here in the neighborhood. It’s too much.”