Daisy Atwood was getting ready for bed when she got the call: Her daughter and two great-grandsons, 3 and 5, had been shot while headed home from the store.
“I just froze,” said Atwood, 77. “It doesn’t make me angry, it makes me scared. It’s so close to my family. It shocked me, I’m just shocked.”
Her daughter Eileen and her great-grandsons were walking down the street in the 2500 block of East 78th Street in the South Shore neighborhood around 8 p.m. when someone opened fire, possibly from a gray van, according to police.
The 5-year-old was shot in the stomach and taken to Comer Children’s Hospital in serious-to-critical condition, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford. Police said the bullet traveled through the boy’s abdomen and back and exited his body, and that his condition had stabilized.
The 3-year-old was shot in the right shoulder and taken by police to La Rabida Children’s Hospital and then transferred to Comer Children’s Hospital, where he was in good condition, police said.
The injuries to the 3-year-old were not immediately discovered by authorities because he was taken away by a relative who apparently did not realize he had been shot, authorities said.
After noticing his wound, the relative brought the boy back to the scene. Video shows a police officer kneeling and scooping him up and running to an unmarked police car, which then speeds off.
The boys’ grandmother, Eileen Atwood, in her 50s, was shot in the hip and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she was listed in critical but stable condition, police said.
“She’s in intensive care and she’s sedated,’’ Daisy Atwood. “She’s in surgery.’’ Atwood said she was told the boys should be OK.
“I’m pretty worried, yes I am,’’ Atwood said. “I’m trying to do good, you know, but I’ve been upset all night. . .I couldn’t even do nothing, I had a headache about the bad news. I’m just so upset over my kids.’’
Police said street gangs have been feuding in the area but it was unclear what led to the shooting. Police do not believe the woman and children were the intended targets.
Police blocked traffic on 78th Street and South Kingston Avenue near the shooting for about three hours. Forensic investigators photographed the scene and collected evidence as detectives rang the doorbells of nearby three-story brick walk-ups in search of witnesses.
“I was in the kitchen and right at the back window, there’s the alley, and all you heard was consistent, like 5 or 6 shots, like back to back,” Quenica Thornton told reporters. “This is really, really close to home, so it’s terrible. The violence over here is ridiculous.”
Another neighbor said the shooting reinforces her fear for children on the block.
“I’ve been wondering every day when I come off from work, ‘Am I going to see my son again?’ ” said the woman. “It’s just a shame.”
Daisy Atwood, who uses a wheelchair, said crime is a constant worry. “It’s bad. It’s bad even where I’m living at, and I live in the Roseland neighborhood. I just try and go and come and get back safely.’’
Tribune reporters Liam Ford and Adam Sege contributed.