Families worry about 2 girls, 11 and 12, in critical condition after separate shootings

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Two girls — one 11, the other 12 — were shot in the head in separate incidents on Saturday night.

Police and family believe they were struck by stray bullets.

Her mother, Nakeeia Williams, heard gunshots and told everyone in the car to get down.

Takiya was sitting next to her 3-year-old brother in the back seat of a van — her mother and aunt were in the front seats — when gunfire erupted about 7:40 p.m. in the 6500 block of South King Drive in the Parkway Gardens neighborhood.

“This doesn’t make any sense,” Patsy Holmes said. “This has got to stop. These babies are dying, and for what?”

Anti-violence activist Andrew Holmes said Takiya Holmes is his cousin, and he was with his family at her bedside on Sunday. He said the girl was still in critical condition and on life support Sunday night. She was not responding to tests, but doctors were planning to conduct more tests Monday morning.

“We all have to come together as a city and make sure we get this under control because this is getting out of hand,” Patsy Holmes said, while also offering prayers for 12-year-old Kanari, who was shot in the head in a separate incident on the South Side within an hour of her granddaughter’s shooting.

Relatives from around the Midwest were converging on the hospital to see Takiya, a fifth-grader with good grades and a deep-dimpled smile that left an impression.

“You have to have a positive attitude, and till God says it’s over, it ain’t over,” she said. “We will get through this. And if it’s his will, then, you know, we have to accept it. But it’s going to be hard.”

Kanari and her friends scattered in separate directions when they heard gunshots while playing in a school lot about 7:15 p.m. in the 1900 block of West 57th Street.

In the minutes and hours that followed, her heart stopped three separate times, relatives said. Paramedics and doctors at Stroger Hospital revived her each time.

“She knows to duck, to drop,” said Patricia Donald, who lives with Kanari at their grandmother’s house about four blocks from scene of the shooting.

Although Kanari’s grandmother tried to keep her under her wing as much as possible, the girl knew the sound of gunfire, said Patricia Donald, 20.

The wrong place for Kanari was the parking lot of the school she attended, Henderson Elementary, which doubles as a play lot, Patricia Donald said.

“She’s fighting and I’m not going to leave her side,” Patricia Donald said.

Family members struggled to make sense of the shooting.

“She was at her school just playing basketball outside, and I guess a car came up and got to shooting and they shot her in the head, the back of her head,” Tyler said.

“Why? That’s the question,” said Kanari’s uncle, Djuan Donald.

“The only thing she wanted to do was play, that’s it,” he said. “Kids getting killed for playing now? For playing?”

The two girls were among 25 people shot in Chicago over the weekend, including five killed. During the second weekend of February 2016, which was a three-day Presidents Day weekend, six people were killed and 19 wounded.