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Girl, 10, now ‘smiling and laughing’ after being shot playing in hydrant

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Updated: August 6, 2012 12:10PM

The condition of a 10-year-old girl who was critically wounded as she played at an open hydrant on the West Side has stabilized and she probably won’t need surgery, officials said Wednesday.

The girl’s aunt, Tavionne Kohnke, 21, said Wednesday after visiting her niece, Kitanna Peterson, in the hospital, “She is fine. She is smiling and laughing.”

The girl and her mother’s boyfriend, were cooling off from the heat when they were shot at 11:20 p.m. Tuesday in the 200 block of North Leamington, Chicago Police spokesman 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 man was shot in the right heel, police said. He was listed in good condition at West Suburban Medical Center.

Kohnke said the girl was playing with other children in the neighborhood next to a fire hydrant when “people came by, shooting.”

She said the adults tried to protect the children by shielding them.

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.

“It makes you sad,” said Gloria Moore, who lives near where the shooting took place and has 19 grandchildren. “You don’t to hear that happening to a grown person let alone a child.”

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.’”

Arries Dixon, said she saw the children playing earlier Tuesday.

“That’s messed up,” she said of whoever fired the shots. “You know there are all these kids around. That’s when you start shooting? You know it’s possible a kid could get shot.”

Shootings are common in the neighborhood, other neighbors said.

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.”

Kitanna and the man who was injured were among at least 15 people shot within a 5.5 hour period Tuesday evening in the city, including a 15-year-old boy who was wounded while playing basketball, officials said.

On Wednesday, at least 10 people were shot in Chicago, two of them fatally.

Robert Snipes, 31, of the 2000 block of North Kostner, died after being struck in the arm and back in the 1600 block of North Pulaski at 10:30 a.m. when a man who was arguing with him opened fire, police said. The suspect fled in a tan van, according to police.

On Wednesday night, a man was fatally shot during a robbery in the South Side’s Park Manor neighborhood, police said.

The 35-year-old man was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head around 11:20 p.m. on the sidewalk in the 100 block of East 68th Street, according to police.

Contributing: Lisa Donovan, LeeAnn Shelton, Victoria Johnson, James Scalzitti, Hunter Clauss and Francine Knowles

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