It was supposed to be a joyous day in East Garfield Park, a back-to-school event for children who live in one of the deadliest neighborhoods in Chicago.
Organizers handed out backpacks, popcorn and cotton candy as kids jumped in bouncy houses and danced to local rappers on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
As things were winding down, a red car passed and the small gathering of families was sprayed by bullets. Kids and parents tripped over each other as they ran for cover. An 11-year-old boy, his 14-year-old step-sister and one of the rappers were hit.
“They just started shooting and there was just a whole bunch of bullets,” said the 14-year-old, Ayonna Fleming Peterson. “I knew I got hit in the ankle and my first thing, I panicked, I was looking around, looking around for my brother and then I noticed I was hit in my leg too.”
Lamar Peterson said his children are recovering, but that hasn’t dimmed his anger. “They are all traumatized,” he said. “We were just there to spread some love to the community.”