Yerlianny Romero says she was standing outside the Grand Crossing police station with her young son in her arms when gunmen rolled up in a Jeep Grand Cherokee and started shooting.
Romero, 28, a Venezuelan asylum-seeker who has been living temporarily at the South Side police station, was wounded in the buttocks. A man, also a migrant from Venezuela, got hit in his right thigh, police said.
Romero said she’d been in Chicago for only a week when she was shot Saturday afternoon.
“He started crying and screaming,” Romero, speaking in Spanish, said of her son in an interview with Telemundo Chicago.
A 24-year-old migrant who also was shot outside the police station told Telemundo that the bullet remains lodged in his leg and that the wound aches in the cold weather. He said he has to go inside the police station to get warm for the pain to subside.
“I don’t know why they shot,” said the man, who was using crutches and who asked not to be identified by name.
The gunmen fired toward migrants standing on a sidewalk, a video of the incident shows. Migrants are camped in tents outside the police station.
Karolina Briceño said she was outside with her 4-year-old daughter and dozens of other migrants when the shooting happened.
“When we heard the gunshots, someone shouted, ‘Everybody get on the floor!’ ” Briceño told the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday. “And we all got down. But, by then, the two people had already been shot. When the shots stopped, we all ran inside the station. The only ones left outside were the two who were wounded.”
She said her young daughter was inconsolable.
“She screamed when she saw the young man all bloody on the ground,” Briceño said. “It had a big impact on her and the other kids.”
Briceño, a Venezuelan, arrived in Chicago on a bus from Texas last week. She’s been staying at the police station with her daughter and fears another shooting might erupt at any moment.
“Can you imagine if that happens again and kids get hurt?” she said. “We want to be taken somewhere else because we are living with trauma. It’s something that left a mark.”
Migrants staying at the Grand Crossing police station said Romero and the other victim have been moved to a different location.
A police report didn’t provide any details about the shooting or say anything about a possible motive.
The report named Romero and the other victim but didn’t identify them as migrants. It gave their addresses as 7040 S. Cottage Grove Ave. — the address of the police station.
Hundreds of migrants are living for now at Chicago police stations as they wait for more permanent housing.
More than 17,000 people from Venezuela and other countries in Latin America have arrived in Chicago since last summer, an exodus encouraged by Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who in May said Chicago and other Democrat-controlled “sanctuary cities” should “provide much-needed relief to our overrun border communities.”
It’s unclear how many of the recent migrants have become victims of violence or have committed violent acts since they got here. Chicago police officials say they don’t track that information.
On Monday, police announced charges against Anthony Evans, 25, who’s accused of driving the Jeep used in the shooting. It later collided with a police squad car in the 5400 block of South State Street, injuring four officers who were trapped in the wreckage, police said. Two handguns were recovered from the Jeep. The four occupants of the Jeep were taken into custody.
Evans is charged with aggravated driving under the influence, battery in connection with the shooting and being a felon in possession of a Glock handgun that was converted into a machine gun. In 2019, he got probation for illegal gun possession.
Evans remains hospitalized with injuries from the crash with the squad car, officials said.
Contributing: Matthew Hendrickson