Chicago police investigate the scene where a 5-year-old girl was shot in the ankle in the 4600 block of North Monticello Avenue in the Albany Park neighborhood on April 29, 2018. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
By Tony Briscoe and Nereida Moreno
On Sunday’s mild afternoon, Stephanie Evans had hoped to take her children to a local park, but a burst of gunfire outside her Northwest Side home ruined those plans, leaving her 5-year-old daughter wounded and the family worriedly gathered at a Chicago hospital instead.
Around 1:30 p.m., Evans, 43, her husband and her four children were walking out of their home in the 4600 block of North Monticello Avenue in Albany Park. They had planned to stop at a relative’s and head to the park from there.
As the family made their way through a gangway to get to their car parked in the rear of the building, an argument between two men led to one firing at the other. Before Evans’ children could make it safely to the car, she noticed 5-year-old Makayla Gant had fallen in the gangway.
Evans’ husband rushed to pick Makayla up and carried her to the car.
“By the time we got to the car, she said, ‘It’s burning … it’s burning,’” Evans recalled. “So, I took her shoe and sock off and there was blood.”
Evans tried to reassure her daughter as they sped to the emergency room of Swedish Covenant Hospital nearly 2 miles away. It wasn’t until the medical staff took X-rays that they were able to confirm Makayla had suffered a gunshot wound to her ankle, possibly from a bullet that had ricocheted, Evans said.
It was a difficult moment for Evans, who said Makayla was looking forward to graduating from kindergarten and her sixth birthday in June.
“It’s a shocking moment, a hurting moment,” Evans said. “I didn’t know what to think or what to say.”
Outside Swedish Covenant’s emergency room entrance, relatives discussed the girl’s condition. One woman in the group pointed to her ankle and described the girl’s wound.
“She took it like a big girl,” the family member said.
Relatives emerged from the hospital saying the bullet was still lodged in Makayla’s foot, and she was transferred to Lurie Children’s Hospital. By Sunday evening, doctors at Lurie performed another round of X-rays to see if the bullet had moved and whether it could be surgically removed, the family said.
Meanwhile, no one had been taken into custody in the shooting, according to police.
At the scene, Monticello was closed between Wilson and Leland avenues as police investigated the shooting. The ground near the shooting scene nearby was littered with rubble and materials from a construction project.
The block where the shooting happened is dominated by three-story apartment buildings with narrow gangways, but there is also a section of single-family homes.
Neighbors watched officers work from their windows and porches.
The shooting was jarring for Evans, who had just moved moved to Albany Park from the city’s West Side in August. From the lobby of the hospital, she said she hoped the gunman knew that a day that was intended to be fun has left Makayla and her siblings in shock.
“He should think about the children,” Evans said. “They deserve to live.”