Chicago police say Mateo Zastro, the young victim, was shot in the head while in the backseat of his mother’s vehicle on Friday night after she was involved in a road rage incident.
He was taken from the scene at South Pulaski Road near West 66th Place to Christ Hospital, where he died hours later, ABC7 Chicago reported.
Chicago Police Department Commander Bryan Spreyne said in a press briefing that Veronica Zastro, the mother of the victim, had been pursued across the city by the attackers and that Mateo’s death had been “senseless”.
“Our vow to the child’s family and to the entire city is that we will not rest until those responsible for this senseless and cowardly act of violence are brought to justice,” said Mr Spreyne, adding that no suspects had been identified.
Andrew Holmes, a community activist, said Mateo’s mother’s did not have tinted windows on her vehicle and so the attacker would have have been able to see the minor and his siblings who were also in the car, in comments to ABC 7.
“There was no tint on that window. You saw those children inside of that car, and you still discharged that weapon,” said Mr Holmes of the culprits, who have not been found or identified.
He continued: “Money alone cannot brings this child back. But, if so be it, we have to put a bounty on someone’s head to get this information, to get them convicted for taking this child’s life”.
Ariell Howard, a friend of Mateo’s mother, said in a GoFundMe that “he was just a baby. He was robbed of his chance at life at such a young age. He has left behind a grieving family who needs answers, prayers and help at this trying time.”
“His mother is a single hard working young woman whom is raising her four children on her own and due to his unexpected passing she will need all the help she can get both financially and emotionally,” she added.
“Me and my family are hurting. He was going to turn 4 in December – right before Christmas – and I already started planning and paying for his birthday,” Ms Zastro said at a memorial event on Monday night, CBS News reports “and now we can’t even do that.”
She continued: “It wasn’t necessary to do what you did. You were on my path home. I wasn’t following you, and you then you decided to plot against me and my babies - and I won’t sleep until you are brought in.”
Our department is praying for the families of the precious children impacted by gun violence this weekend. Senseless violence has no place in this city. No child or family should carry the weight of gun violence, which is why we work nonstop to get guns off the streets.
— Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown (@ChiefDavidBrown) October 3, 2022
The killing was one of multiple crimes committed across Chicago between Friday and Sunday, leading Chicago Police Superintendent David O Brown to hold a press briefing on Sunday night that was broadcast on Facebook.
“Our department is praying for the families of the precious precious children impacted by gun violence this past weekend,” said Mr Brown. “A three-year-old whose life was taken for no reason in a road rage incident that should never have escalated to gun violence”.
The police chief said additional resources have been deployed following the two incidents. and that the number of homicides and shooting victims had been decreasing in the city for the past consecutive seven months.
As ABC 7 reported however, this past weekend see 34 people shot, five of whom were killed. Police said another child, aged seven, was among those victims.