Mother of Toddler Shot in Chicago Park: "They Shot My Baby in the Face"

By Kim Vatis and Alexandria Fisher
|  Friday, Sep 20, 2013  |  Updated 11:18 PM EDT
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After a violent attack at a Chicago park left 13 people wounded, including a 3-year-old Deonta Howard, the mother of the toddler pleaded for the shooter to turn himself in.

After a violent attack at a Chicago park left 13 people wounded, including a 3-year-old Deonta Howard, the mother of the toddler pleaded for the shooter to turn himself in.

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Chicago Police Superintendent on Park Shooting

Supt. Garry McCarthy said the bullets that wounded 13 people in a south side park came from an assault-style rifle, and he reiterated his call for gun legislation that includes stronger background checks, a crackdown on so-called straw purchases and a ban on high-capacity magazines.

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After a violent attack at a Chicago park left 13 people wounded, including a 3-year-old Deonta Howard, the mother of the toddler pleaded for the shooter to turn himself in.

"They shot my baby in the face with a gun that stands taller than him," said Shamarah Leggett. "For my baby's sake, turn themselves in."

Witnesses said several gunmen fired at least 20 shots at a group gathered at Cornell Square Park, on the 1800 block of W. 51st Street, shortly before 10:15 p.m. The spray of bullets sent a mass of people to the ground on the basketball courts.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said an assault-style rifle with a high capacity magazine was used in the shooting, and police believe the incident was gang-related.

The victims included 10 males and three females, including 3-year-old Deonta Howard -- known as "Tay-man" -- who was shot in the jaw and was listed in critical condition as of 3 a.m. The boy was with his mother. She was not injured, a police spokesman said.

The crime statistics hit close to home for the family of the youngest victim of the city's latest high-profile shooting. Howard's grandmother, Semehca Nunn, said she lost her son to gun violence earlier this month.

"It needs to stop," Nunn said as she broke into tears. 'Y'all are out here killing these innocent people: kids, parents, grandparents, mothers, fathers. It's got to stop. Y'all need to stop."

Thursday's shooting happened nearly three weeks after a deadly Labor Day weekend left dozens injured and at least seven people were killed, including Howard's uncle, the family said.

"I just buried my son, and now I'm going through something else," Nunn said.

Leggett asked that anyone who knows of anything that can help with investigation calls police.

"I just want a person, anybody that knows anything, to help," she said.
 

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