The mother of a 7-year-old boy who was hospitalized after he was shot on his way to church in Chicago on Sunday morning has called for her son’s attacker to be locked in “jail for life” after police apprehended a suspect in the brazen daylight shooting.
Police say Legend Barr, 7, was shot outside the Universal Community Church at the corner of South State and 108th Streets just before 11:30 a.m., Fox 32 Chicago reported. The boy’s grandmother is reportedly the lead pastor of the church.
Church officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Christian Post on Monday but the boy’s mother, Keshawana Barr, said the family noticed a stranger inside the pastor’s SUV and the stranger reacted by shooting at their car and hitting her son in the leg.
"Right when we turned down the street, the guy pulled out this really big machine gun and started shooting at the car. My son was in the back screaming, 'I got shot,'" Keshawana Barr told Fox 32.
"I saw that [bullet] shot through my pants, and my favorite shirt got destroyed that I got for my birthday," Legend Barr told the news outlet from his hospital bed.
An earlier police report said the boy’s father confronted the stranger inside the pastor’s SUV, but Keshawana Barr told Fox 32 that there was no confrontation. She later wrote on Facebook that “No one tried to confront anyone. My husband never rolled his window down made any type of gestures of aggressiveness or anything.”
Even though the suspected shooter fled the scene, ABC 7 reported that officers who were in the area at the time of the shooting chased down the suspect and arrested him. Family members positively identified the suspect as the shooter.
"I want to commend our 5th District officers for their quick response," Deputy Chief Larry Snelling told ABC 7. "They were in this area performing post-shooting and violence reduction missions, and they were able to respond immediately. They gave chase and were able to take that suspect into custody."
Universal Community Church has been the scene of shootings before. According to Fox 32, three people were shot during a drive-by shooting at the church during a funeral in July.
The 7-year-old boy is also the fifth child to be shot while in the back seat of a car in Chicago this year. Four others have died.
And Snelling is urging the community to help the police in identifying the shooters.
"Let’s start pointing out these people who are out here shooting and killing children, killing each other, killing any human being," he said at a news conference.
As for Legend Barr, his family says the boy who loves to play basketball is now facing months of recovery because his femur was shattered by the bullet.
“His recovery will take months and I will be off work for a while. This happened at the worst time. We have to be out of our apartment by October 15, and now I won’t have the income I need to move us and pay any of our bills until recovery is over in a few months,” Keshawana Barr explained in a GoFundMe campaign seeking to raise $5,000, about how the shooting has impacted her family. “Anything helps us to find another home and to also get Legend the care services he will be needing following his hospital stay after surgery. My whole family is traumatized and hurt from this senseless act of violence.”
As for the man who shot her son, Keshawana Barr said, “I pray they do not let that man out and that he goes to jail for life.”
“My baby life is at a standstill for months. He has to get rods put in his leg due to his femur being shattered by the bullet. I was so scared and traumatized and my baby is mentally not okay and is in so much pain. All our kids and my husband and mother were in our car when that dude shot at our car for no reason at all,” she said in a statement on Facebook.
“Please keep my whole family in your prayers, this is more than I can even handle right now. No man should have to run their 7-year-old son covered in blood in the hospital because he was shot,” she added. “He is just a kid. This is our baby. Everyone think they so cool doing things like this and they’re not. I just can’t even catch a break. I’m hurt. I’m angry. What am I supposed to do I don’t even understand this.”