Graphic by MEREK ALAM
Halloween in typically a time for children to get into costume and to go around their neighborhoods trick-or-treating for a sweet treat. However, in Chicago this year terror was unleashed.
The block of 26 – west has been terrorized by gang violence for years, so another shooting is nothing new to those who live there. However, this year the violence occurred on Halloween night as children were trick-or-treating, and the victim of the shooting was a child.
A seven year old girl, named Gisele Zamago, was dressed in red and black while out with her farther in search of some candy on Halloween. Then, a man stepped out of an alley, yelled a Latin King insult and then fired seven rounds into a crowd of children and hit this little girl in the chest and neck. Everyone sprang into action.
Zamago’s father started to scream for help as he held pressure on his daughter’s wounds to stop the bleeding. Then a shop keep by the name of Lali Lara helped to bring the wounded child inside her store until police and an ambulance could arrive.
Lara helped to hold pressure until on the girl’s chest until help could arrive. “She was holding my hand for three minutes and then she let me go. I have kids – I would go crazy if something happened to them” said Lara in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
Zamago was taken to the hospital in critical condition where she was stabilized and is now doing well. Officers have a suspect, who is also a child. The suspect is a 15 year old boy who they believe was aimed at a 32 year old man who happened to be near the child who fell victim to the shooting.
The older man was later found with a bullet graze on his hand in an alley, but he refused to answer any questions by police. He is believed to have been part of the rival gang this attack was aimed at, as has a criminal record of his own.
Students feel that the whole incident hits just a little too close to home. “I’m kind of at a point where I expect bad things around me but remain separate from things I find familiar,” said Grier Marquis (’23). “When something happens so close to home, it’s kind of shocking, gut wrenching for me, even though there have been multiple incidents like this in different places.”
Many citizens of Chicago feel that there is not enough involvement from the police on busy nights such as Halloween. One shop owner said “There needs to be a change with police, they need to walk the streets when there are so many children around,” said Anahy Olivera in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
The 15 year old has since been arrested and was charged with two counts of first-degree attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery. Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said “Those involved do not deserve to be in our city. I am disgusted, but committed to doing everything we can to find the cowards that would engage in a gun battle during the early evening hours while children are trick-or-treating.”
Students worry about how to react and what they will have to worry about in the future. “It is just so crazy to think,” said Ellie Woertz (’20). “It makes me worry for the safety of the children that just want to have fun on a holiday. How are children supposed to enjoy themselves if parents are only worried about whether or not their child may suffer from violence?”
Gisele’s family has set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of the surgeries she will need in the next few weeks. Her aunt, Sanjuana Zamago, posted an update on Gisele’s condition to the GoFundMe, saying “she is awake and watching ‘Finding Dory.’ She has yet to say much but could give small responses to nurses and doctors about how she was feeling.”