RECOVERING—This family handout photo provided by Rev. Corey Brooks shows 3-year-old Deonta Howard recovering from a gunshot wound Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Chicago. (AP Photo/Family photo via Rev. Corey Brooks)
by Jason Keyser
CHICAGO (AP) — The mother of the 3-year-old who was among 13 shot in a Chicago park says her son is recovering, making her “the luckiest mother in the world.
Shamarah Leggett late Tuesday said Deonta (dee-AHN’-tay) Howard’s first words when he came out of sedation were: “Mom, they shot me.” She said he pointed to where a bullet pierced his face.
Deonta has had two surgeries, and his mother says he will undergo plastic surgery to further repair his injuries.
Two suspected gunmen and two others have been charged in the Thursday night shooting at a park in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood.
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said all four are charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery in Thursday’s attack in Cornell Square Park on the southwest side.
Investigators believe Tabari Young, 22, was the principal gunman and he was charged Tuesday, McCarthy said. Bryon Champ, 21, who was charged a day earlier, was also a shooter, the police superintendent said.
A suspected lookout, Brad Jett, 22, and Kewane Gatewood, 20, have also been charged, McCarthy said.
Among those injured in the shooting were two teenagers and 3-year-old Howard.
Authorities describe Champ as a documented gang member. He was convicted in July 2012 on charges of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and sentenced to Cook County Jail’s boot camp.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel went on a ride-along with Superintendent Garry McCarthy on Sunday night. The trip took place days after the shooting—and prompted him to cancel events in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. to rush back to Chicago.
Emanuel has made crime fighting a high priority of his administration. This year he approved the police department’s spending of millions of dollars in overtime to saturate high-crime areas with hundreds of additional officers.
After Thursday night’s shooting in the park, Emanuel urged people in the community to provide police with any information they can.
Police had recorded 306 murders and 1,402 shooting incidents this year in Chicago as of Sept. 15, down 20 and 22 percent, respectively, from the same period in 2012. Police say overall violent crime is down about 15 percent, according to new figures released Monday.
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