(USA TODAY) Three people were killed and 23 wounded in the latest spate of violence to hit Chicago.
The wounded include 3-year-old Deonta "Tay-man" Howard, and two teens, among 13 people shot in an apparent gang-related attack in Chicago's South Side Cornell Square Park.
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Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said an assault-style rifle with a high-capacity magazine was used in the shootings.
"They almost shot his whole face off,' McCarthy said, noting it was a "miracle" that no one had died in the attacks.
Others in the violence-plagued city weren't so lucky. At least 10 others were shot in other incidents late Thursday and early Friday. Three were murdered, including Johnny Tinsey, 36, Rubin Austin, 25, and an unidentified 29-year-old woman.
Howard's grandmother, Semehca Nunn, said his condition had stabilized Friday after he underwent surgery. The bullet entered the boy's ear and exited through his mouth. Deonta's uncle was shot to death just two weeks ago.
None of the other victims shot in the park suffered life threatening injuries, police said.
A witness to the Cornell Square Park shootings, Julian Harris, told the Chicago Sun-Times that dreadlocked men fired at him from a gray sedan before firing at others.
"They hit the light pole next to me, but I ducked down and ran into the house," said Harris,22, Howard's uncle. "They've been coming round here looking for people to shoot every night, just gang-banging stuff. It's what they do."
Police say the park shootings stem from an on-going dispute between the Gangster Disciples and the Black P Stone Nation gang. Chicago Alderman Willie Cochran told the Chicago Sun-Times that police have talked to several people but had made no arrests.
"Senseless and brazen acts of violence have no place in Chicago and betray all that we stand for," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday. "The perpetrators of this crime will be brought to justice and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I encourage everyone in the community to step forward with any information and everyone in Chicago to continue their individual efforts to build stronger communities where violence has no place."
Three weeks ago an outbreak of violence during the Labor Day weekend left eight people dead and 20 injured.
The Chicago police department responded by paying overtime to add patrols to some neighborhoods, including the Back of the Yards, where Thursday's shooting took place.
Crime statistics released this week by the FBI showed that Chicago, with 500 murders in 2012, replaced New York, with 419, as the murder capital of the U.S. Year-to-date, Chicago murders are actually down 22% from 2012. Police say there have been 305 killings, vs. 389 at this point in 2012.