Every Halloween, 26th Street through Little Village becomes an unbroken parade of children in bright costumes snaking in and out of businesses braced for the trick-or-treaters.
“Who doesn’t enjoy Halloween?” asked Laura Gutierrez Ramos, owner of Nuevo Leon restaurant, a staple of the strip for more than 40 years.
But this year, she felt only sadness and anger. A 7-year-old girl dressed in a red and black costume was shot and seriously wounded across the street from the restaurant by a gunman aiming at a gang rival. Yet children continued to come in for candy, despite the crime tape and squad cars.
“It did not faze people,” she said. “Our community is very immune to the situation.”
The girl is apparently the latest victim of a gang war that has been waged in the neighborhood since the 1960s.
Police believe the gunman is a member of the Gangster Two-Six gang and was targeting a Latin King when he shot the girl two times as she walked down the street with her father Thursday evening in the 3700 block of West 26th Street — close to the border dividing rival street gangs.
The gunman stepped from an alley about 5:30 p.m. and yelled a Latin King insult before firing at least seven times into a crowd of children, hitting the girl on the right side of the neck and her upper chest, according to Chicago police.