Thirteen people, including a toddler, have been wounded in an overnight gang shooting in Chicago, police say.
Among the victims is a three-year-old child who is in critical condition after being shot in the ear when gunfire erupted around 10.15pm on Thursday (1300 AEST Friday) at a park on Chicago’s south side, police say.
No one has been reported killed and no one had been arrested as of early Friday.
“We believe that the motive for the shooting was gang-related,” said Ron Gaines, a spokesman with the Chicago Police Department.
“At this point, detectives are out questioning witnesses trying to find out what happened,” he said.
Officials said the wounded were transported by ambulance to area hospitals.
Many of the victims – most of them in their teens, 20s and 30s – had bullet wounds to their arms, legs or feet.
One 24-year-old man was shot twice in the abdomen and was in serious condition, police said.
A witness, Julian Harris, told the Chicago Sun-Times that dreadlocked men fired at him from a grey sedan before turning toward Cornell Square Park and firing at people in the area. He said his three-year-old nephew was wounded.
“They hit the light pole next to me, but I ducked down and ran into the house,” he said. “They’ve been coming round here looking for people to shoot every night, just gang-banging stuff. It’s what they do.”
Francis John, 70, said she was in her apartment when the shooting occurred. She said went down to see what was going on and “a lot of youngsters were running scared”.
She said she was surprised by what had happened, saying she has lived in the neighbourhood for 30 years.
She told the Sun-Times there hasn’t been much gun violence in the neighbourhood in recent years, adding the neighbourhood went from good to bad 10 years ago, to better recently.
The shooting comes nearly three weeks after Chicago saw an outburst of violence over the Labor Day weekend that ended with eight dead and 20 others injured.
The city’s police department has responded to shootings that have grabbed national headlines by stepping up its crime-fighting efforts, paying overtime to add patrols to some neighbourhoods, including the Back of the Yards, where Thursday’s shooting took place.
US President Obama returned to his adopted hometown earlier this year to appeal for an end to the “senseless” gun violence ravaging Chicago as he pressed for ambitious gun control measures, which so far have been stalled in the US congress.