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10-year-old boy among victims as more than 20 shot on one Chicago day

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A 10-year-old boy was shot Wednesday in Chicago toward the end of a day that saw at least three people slain and 20 others wounded, police and local media said.

The boy was standing on North Waller Avenue just before 8 p.m. when a group of men on a nearby street corner began fighting, said Officer Hector Alfaro, a Chicago Police Department spokesman.

During the melee, one of the men pulled out a handgun and opened fire, Alfaro said.

“I’m assuming he was shooting at the other individuals,” he added. “He wasn’t shooting at the child.”

The boy was wounded in the right buttock and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, Alfaro said. No information about his condition was available early Thursday, though Alfaro said he believed the child was “stable.”

Chicago detectives were continuing their investigation Thursday, and no arrests had been made, Alfaro said.

The city’s first 80-degree day in seven months brought a wave of violence, with an average of one per hour at one point, NBCChicago.com reported.

Three cases were fatal, according to NBCChicago.com:

A man in his 30s was found dead in an alley in the 1900 block of South Drake overnight. After midnight, the first murder of May happened in the South Shore neighborhood where a 27-year-old man was shot in the chest near his home at 68th and Cornell. Neighbors said the man was a father of three.

Another shooting happened in front of the University of Illinois-Chicago police station, where three men were struck around 10:40 p.m. A 19- year-old died. Police said he was a known gang member.

The violence came less than a month after the police department announced that crime in the city had fallen 8 percent in the year’s first quarter, compared with the same period a year earlier, and 15 percent from 2011.

Murders fell by 42 percent in the quarter and shootings by 27 percent, the department said in a news release.

The Austin neighborhood, where the boy was shot, however, saw a rise last year in the numbers of murders and shootings, according to police statistics.

The district, one of 77 in the city of 2.7 million, had 26 murders in 2012, up from 19 the year before, and 116 shootings, up from 98.