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Girl, 10, shot as she played in front of open West Side hydrant

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Updated: August 5, 2012 6:46AM

A 10-year-old girl was critically wounded and a man also was shot late Tuesday as they played at an open hydrant in the West Side’s Austin neighborhood.

They were cooling off from the heat when they were shot about 11:20 p.m. in the 200 block of North Leamington, police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said.

The girl, who was shot in the left wrist and abdomen, was taken in critical condition to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park before she was transferred to Stroger Hospital. The 24-year-old man was shot in the right heel, police said. He was listed in good condition at West Suburban Medical Center.

On Wednesday, a Stroger Hospital spokeswoman said the girl was in stable condition and, for

now, won’t require surgery. She’s recuperating in a pediatric section of the hospital.

Neighbors said several children had played in front of the hydrant for the last couple of days.

“I heard a couple of shots and I thought they were firecrackers,” said Roscoe Blackwell, who was visiting a girlfriend near the shooting. “Then I saw them pick someone up. ... I heard someone yell, ‘someone’s been shot.’”

Neighbors said shootings are common in the neighborhood.

Nakita Collins, 23, who has lived in the neighborhood her whole life, said she has watched Austin decline.

“It’s become infested with drugs and gang activity,” said Collins, adding that she often feels abandoned by the city and police.

“We pay taxes and they don’t take care of us,” she said. “They don’t patrol ... I just don’t think they care.”

The girl and man were among at least 16 people shot Tuesday evening in the city, including a 15-year-old boy wounded while playing basketball, officials said.

The boy was shot around 5 p.m. in the 8500 block of South Peoria, police said. An unknown shooter took out a gun and opened fire, hitting him in the left arm. He was one of a dozen people shot in a four hour period.

In another shooting, three people were wounded in the North Side’s Uptown neighborhood, police said. Two women were in critical condition and another man was wounded in the possibly gang-related drive-by shooting at 7:28 p.m. in the 4400 block of North Racine, according to police.

Two women were taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in critical condition, according to Fire Media Affairs. A man was taken in “stable” condition to Weiss Memorial Hospital.

Police said one of the women was shot in the back and the other was shot in the knee. The man was shot in the leg.

Contributing: Lisa Donovan

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