Three in custody in shooting of 3-year-old boy
BY TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporter July 26, 2014 12:02AM
Chicago Police at the scene of a shooting Friday night in the 4400 block of South Sacramento. A 3-year-old boy was critically injured. Two men were charged Sunday in the shooting. | Alex Wroblewski/Sun-Times
Updated: August 28, 2014 6:54AM
Two gang-bangers armed with a gun were throwing bottles and looking for trouble outside a family’s home in Brighton Park Friday night, police say.
But when one of them started shooting and everyone ran, someone got forgotten — a 3-year-old boy, “left alone in the front yard” according to a police report.
And tiny Jason Ares was struck in the hip and the abdomen by stray bullets that police believe were intended for his mother’s roommate.
As the little boy recovered from surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital Saturday night, police had three suspects in custody in connection with the 10 p.m. shooting in the 4400 block of South Sacramento. But nobody had been charged with the latest shooting of an innocent Chicago child.
Jason’s relieved mother, April Steve, said she believed the gunman was shooting at her home in retaliation for a recent gang-related shooting. But she denied that her boyfriend and roommate had gang ties and adamantly rejected the allegation in the police report that her son was alone when was shot.
“That’s not true — he was in the backyard with me and my boyfriend,” Steve said.
“We were just in shock because we was in the backyard hanging up clothes and then it happened so fast. We just grabbed each other and ran in circles, like cockroaches.”
Steve said one of the men came so far as to enter the gangway and fire shots.
“We didn’t know who he was aiming at. Once we heard, we tried to get the boy into the house,” she said.
Police believe her roommate was the intended target. The gunman first approached him as he walked home and asked him a question using a gang reference, according to a police report.
The roommate didn’t answer and continued to walk into the gangway next to his home, the report states. But when he warned Steve and her boyfriend about the man, all four, including the child, went into the front yard anyway, according to the report.
First a bottle was thrown at the roommate by one man, then another man wearing a black hoodie took out a gun and began firing.
April Steve’s roommate ran into the gangway, according to the report, which didn’t indicate where April Steve and her boyfriend were at the time of the shooting.
“At this time Jason was left alone in the front yard when he was struck by two projectiles,” the report said.
Sandra Steve, the boy’s aunt, said the toddler was in shock when he was shot. “He told his mom ‘Get the medicine. Get the Band-aids,” the aunt said.
She added that Jason underwent surgery on Friday and was doing better and that his mom has been at his bedside since the shooting. The boy is expected to remain in the hospital for several days, she said.