A Chicago toddler was shot and killed on Tuesday in what police suspect was a "gang hit" on a man in a vehicle with him, just a few days after two young girls were shot in the head. It marked the latest spasm of violence in a city struggling to contain such attacks. Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said police suspect the man, a well-known gang member with an extensive criminal history, was the target of the shooting that also left a woman wounded. The Chicago Sun-Times identifies the slain toddler as 2-year-old Lavontay White. Gugliemi said no arrests had been made in the case, the AP reports.
In separate incidents over the weekend, two girls ages 11 and 12 were shot in the head by gunmen who were aiming at someone else in an area of the city known for heavy gang activity. Takiya Holmes, cousin of anti-violence activist Andrew Holmes, died on Tuesday, while 11-year-old Kamari Gentry-Bowers is still in critical condition, the Sun-Times reports. The shootings highlight the street gang violence that police say was largely responsible for 762 homicides last year—nearly 300 more than occurred in 2015—and more than 3,500 shooting incidents. That violence has continued this year, with January ending with 51 homicides, the highest total since January 1999, when there were 55.