Gang violence is a serious problem in many of America’s neighborhoods. When it happens, it touches the lives of everyone–victims, bystanders, witnesses and the perpetrators. In too many cases, the victims are innocent, as in the case of a recent incident involving a toddler.
A recent Chicago Tribune story reported that three gunmen opened fire at a suspected gang rival in a South Chicago neighborhood. Several people were in the vicinity, including children walking to school and a woman pushing her year-old niece in a stroller as she walked the family dog. A stray bullet struck the child in her head. At press time, she was listed in critical condition after undergoing brain surgery at a local hospital and was expected to survive. The aunt was not injured.
Two 16-year-old boys were arrested and held without bond. Both are being charged as an adult and face charges of aggravated battery with a firearm and attempted murder. The third gunman was still at large at press time. According to prosecutors, the suspects were gang members who were shooting at a man suspected of being a rival gang member as he rode his bicycle down the street. The bicyclist, who denied being a gang member, was hit but the bullet did not penetrate his body.
One of the suspects would have been starting his sophomore year in high school and was on probation. His accomplice would have been starting his junior year and has a pending juvenile robbery case.
The future does not look too bright for these two juvenile criminals. If they were going to be charged as juvenile’s, the maximum sentence they might receive is time in juvenile detention. Because they’re being charged as an adult, they are both facing serious jail time. A criminal defense attorney will make sure these defendants are treated properly and fair during the process, but the chances of a light or reduced sentence looks pretty grim for these two suspects.