A Violent Trend: Increasing Numbers Of Children Killed By Gun Violence In Chicago

Jaslyn Adams is the third child killed by gun violence in Chicago so far this year -- the same number of gun related child homicides in all of 2019.

Video Transcript

BRAD EDWARDS: A memorial for a child gunned down in Chicago. Community members released balloons near the Homan Square restaurant where seven-year-old Jaslyn Adams was killed.

IRIKA SARGENT: Adams was shot at a McDonald's drive-thru at Roosevelt and Kedzie. Her father was also shot, but he is expected to survive. They also set up a memorial in her honor.

BRAD EDWARDS: CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey joins us live from the scene. And Megan, that little girl is the third child killed by gun violence so far this year.

MEGAN HICKEY: Right, Brad and Irika. Seven-year-old Jaslyn Adams, also known as "Pinky" by her family, one of at least six kids shot in the last seven weeks here in Chicago. And that is a trend that local organizations are working to reverse.

RAYANNA THOMAS: Because it still don't even seem real. This is a baby. So there's like no words for it.

MEGAN HICKEY: Jaslyn's stepmother Rayanna Thomas FaceTimed me from the hospital where the seven-year-old's dad is recovering from a gunshot wound. 29-year-old Jontae Adams and Jaslyn were riding in this now bullet-ridden Acura, as they were pulling through the drive-through of this Homan Square McDonald's yesterday. The fast food restaurant now the scene of a memorial to the energetic little girl.

- There go Pinky, dancing.

MEGAN HICKEY: Taken too soon. Thomas was there when they had to break the news to Jaslyn's father in the hospital.

- He kind of already figured himself, because when they were taking her out of the car, in his mind, he figured because of how she looked that she was going already.

MEGAN HICKEY: Jaslyn joins 13-year-old Adam Toledo, shot by police in Little Village on March 29. An 11-year-old, Ny'Andrea Dyer, shot at a West Pullman gas station on March 1, as the three children who have lost their lives so far this year to gun violence. Gun-related homicides of kids have been trending upward since 2014. There were only three gun-related child homicides in all of 2019, but that number rose dramatically last year.

CHRIS PATTERSON: Right, mom and dad love their children. But they're also fighting their own demons and going through their own obstacles.

MEGAN HICKEY: Chris Patterson, with Friends of the Children Chicago, says the stats underscore the need for proactive intervention. His program matches four, five, and six-year-olds with long-term mentors, because he believes violence reduction can't just focus on the adults who are making poor decisions.

CHRIS PATTERSON: If we're not being intentional about building that infrastructure for them, as we see on a daily basis, people fall through the cracks.

MEGAN HICKEY: Meanwhile, Jaslyn's family is praying that she will be the last child who dies from gun violence in 2021.

- I would have never thought that. I would have never thought that this would hit home this close. Like, this close?

MEGAN HICKEY: Now, again, a total of 13 kids died from gun violence in 2020, so sadly, we are potentially on track to match that in 2021, which is why groups like Friends of the Children are ramping up their efforts. Brad?

BRAD EDWARDS: Yeah, critical causes there. Just an unreal story you're dealing without there, Megan. Do police have a person of interest or a potential suspect in the case or not?

MEGAN HICKEY: So, at last check, CPD had no one in custody, and they didn't have any sort of suspect description to share with us. We should note, though, there are several cameras positioned on the outside of this McDonald's. So far, we have not seen any surveillance video of that incident, though.

BRAD EDWARDS: CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey. Megan, our thanks.