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Near mass shooting, 2 houses with children riddled with bullets

Superintendent Garry McCarthy discusses Back Yards shooting Cornell Park September 19th press conference Police headquarter September 20 2013.  |

Superintendent Garry McCarthy discusses the Back of the Yards shooting at Cornell Park on September 19th at press conference at Police headquarter September 20, 2013. | Jessica Koscielniak / Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: October 22, 2013 6:10AM

Twenty-six children live next door to each other in two houses in the 5100 block of South Hermitage.

They’re lucky to be alive.

On Wednesday, someone fired dozens of bullets into those homes — at least one for each child.

Bullets struck windows.

Bullets crashed through aluminum siding.

And they lodged into the bedroom walls in the eight apartments inside the two homes. Amazingly, no one was hit.

The houses are just a block away from a mass shooting Thursday night that left 13 people — including a 3-year-old boy — wounded in a park.

Police said they were exploring whether Wednesday’s fusillade was linked to the shootings Thursday night in Cornell Square Park.

At a news conference Friday, police Supt. Garry McCarthy described the area as a “high gang conflict zone” and said investigators believe the mass shooting was gang-related.

Tequilla Washington, 24, said she lives in one of the two houses targeted by gunfire about 4:50 a.m. Wednesday on Hermitage.

“The gunfire woke us up,” she said. “We all got on the floor.”

Washington said she also was home at 10:15 p.m. Thursday when she heard the gunfire in the nearby park.

“I heard the popping,” Washington said.

To her, it was nothing new.

“Shootings have been happening since I’ve been here all my life,” she said.

Tim Wilkins, a 29-year-old contractor, said he grew up on the 5100 block of South Hermitage.

He moved to a safer neighborhood — “where a car crash is the biggest thing that happens.”

But his younger brother still lives in one of the houses peppered with bullets.

The brother gets up early to prepare for high school on the North Side, Wilkins said.

“He looked out the window and saw a guy aim at the house,” he said.

Wilkins said someone fired at the house on three separate occasions early Wednesday.

He said the children living in the two homes still went to school later that morning — some to Fulton Elementary School in the 5300 block of South Hermitage and others to Richard J. Daley Elementary School in the 5000 block of South Wolcott.


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