An 8-year-old girl who had recently emigrated to Chicago with her mother from Mexico was fatally shot in the Little Village neighborhood Saturday afternoon, the unintended victim of one of the 18 shootings that occurred over the weekend in Chicago.
Melissa Ortega, a third-grade student at Emiliano Zapata Academy in Little Village, died Saturday after she was shot in the head by a suspect who was aiming at a 26-year-old man as part of a gang conflict in the community, according to Chicago police.
Ortega was one of six people killed by gunfire over the weekend in Chicago.
The shooting occurred around 2:45 p.m. Saturday in the 4000 block of West 26th Street. Ortega and her mother were walking in the area when someone opened fire on the 26-year-old as he exited a store.
Ortega and her mother were not the intended victims, police said. The girl was taken to Stroger Hospital where she later died. The 26-year-old was also shot in the back and was hospitalized in critical condition.
The Chicago Police Department did not provide an update on that man’s condition Monday morning.
According to an online fundraiser started to cover Ortega’s funeral costs, she and her mother had just moved to Chicago in August and were “both excited to start a new life in Chicago and build their American Dream.” That fundraiser has collected more than $43,000 as of Monday morning.
“Losing a child under any circumstances is horrifying, and the circumstances in which this family lost this precious, precious child is almost unspeakable,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday morning.
Lightfoot said police detectives are working “24/7” and Police Superintendent David Brown said his department has “very strong leads” thus far. In response to the shooting, the CPD is moving additional resources into Little Village to target gang violence and help prevent retaliatory shootings.
That will include specialized units and “highly visible” police patrols in the area.
“We won’t stop working until the Ortega family, this community and this city see justice,” Brown said.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the CPD either online or through its anonymous tip line at 833-408-0069.
Other fatal shootings over the weekend in Chicago included:
– A 19-year-old was shot in the 9000 block of South Normal Avenue at around 9 p.m. Friday. The teen was standing outside when he heard shots and felt pain, police said. He was taken to Christ Hospital, where he was initially listed in good condition, but later died.
– A 33-year-old was killed at around 5:15 a.m. Saturday while driving an SUV in the 4200 block of South Archer Avenue. Police said an unknown offender approached the vehicle and opened fire, striking the man in the head.
– Two men were killed in a shooting at around 3:45 a.m. Sunday morning in the 1800 block of East 71st Street. Police found a 41-year-old man sitting in a vehicle who had been shot in the thigh, and a second man on the ground nearby who had been shot in the back. Both were transported to the University of Chicago Medical Center where they were pronounced dead.
– A 69-year-old man was found unresponsive just before 5 p.m. Sunday inside a residence in the 8100 block of South Paulina Street. Police said he had suffered multiple gunshot and stab wounds. He was pronounced dead on scene.