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Halloween mass shooting victims in Chicago struggle to heal, call for more support

Rosemary Sobol and Jake Sheridan, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

“He can’t keep his balance — he’s walking on a walker,” said Patterson. “They do say he will fully recover but it’s so frustrating because they’re so young.”

The boys “had a fantastic time” at a birthday party this month for their friend, the 11-year-old girl who was also shot during the attack, their mom said. Originally, Demyan was cautious about attending.

“He kept saying, ‘I don’t want to go near the fireworks.’ He doesn’t understand that they weren’t fireworks at all,’’’ Patterson said.

The on-the-go toddler was in his mother’s arms when the attack happened. They “dropped to the ground” and Patterson pulled him under the wheels of a nearby car to take cover as sparks flew.

That’s when a bullet apparently ricocheted off a bag she was wearing and into Demyan’s calf. Patterson wasn’t shot.

Numb with fear, she passed the toddler to her sister but then found out Demetrius was also among the victims.

 

“Don’t panic” someone told her.

Waves of guilt come in sharp surges for Patterson. “I keep apologizing to them because originally I wasn’t going to come to the vigil,” she said.

But Patterson said Demetrius begs her not to blame herself. “It’s not your fault” he tells her.

The 11-year-old girl attended a Halloween party just before the vigil, where she was surrounded by relatives and friends, said her mom, Tiffany Patterson. She is not being identified out of safety concerns, at the request of her mother.

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