Police are piecing together today the details of a Tuesday afternoon shooting that left one woman dead and a man recovering in the hospital.
The North Side gunfire nearly claimed a 5-month-old child as a third victim.
Police received an emergency call just before 5 p.m. about gunfire in the 700 block of Park Avenue. In the background, someone could be heard screaming about the murder of a woman.
When officers arrived at the address, they found two people hit by gunfire. A young woman was dead on the small porch of a yellow house, and a man inside the house suffered from what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the back. Police identified the victim as Ororo Wilkins, 20, no address provided.
The wounded man was identified as Alexander Morales, 24, and was taken away from the scene by ambulance and rushed into surgery. Police said he was shot while trying to flee into the house.
Police have a suspect and are searching for him. The man may be armed with an assault weapon.
Those who witnessed the shooting said the tragedy was very nearly compounded as Wilkins was holding a 5-month-old child at the time she was shot. The curly-haired baby with bright, light-colored eyes fell to the concrete after the shooting but was quickly picked up by people who ran to the scene.
A woman living close to the shooting scene said she was preparing dinner in her home when she heard the gunfire. She rushed to the door in time to see the victim lying on the porch and the gathering crowd.
“It was so loud I thought something exploded,” she said of the gunfire. “It’s just a blessing this baby did not get hurt. ... Nobody but God shielded that baby.”
Angela McLendon, who lives in the house where the shooting took place and is the grandmother of the baby girl, was not home at the time of the shooting, but said there were six adults and a total of five children in the house at the time of the shooting.
McLendon said she is grateful her granddaughter was shielded from the gunfire and the rest of the kids in the house also were unscathed. Neighbors said those children would most often be seen playing near the front of the house.
One man said there were several people outside the house when a car pulled up with one man getting out and firing two shots. The car sped away immediately after the shooting.
Police would not confirm any details about the shooting but did warn officers to be on the lookout for two black men in a dark car believed to be responsible for the shooting. Police, within an hour of the shooting, had a suspect in mind but would not confirm the man’s name.
This is the city’s sixth homicide this year, and the second in the past nine days. Robert Joseph Vanderpool, of Loveland Lane, was found dead on the front porch of his mother’s residence May 12.
The city had recorded 12 homicides at this time in 2012.