While finishing up a busy day that included three homicides in two hours, Sgt. Bryan Topczewski with the Chicago Police Department heard a call come in about a child who had been shot. Only about two blocks away, Topczewski took the call, but the initial information from the call was very limited.
“All right units in 011 … now getting a person shot at thirty-nine forty-five Polk, 3-9-4-5 Polk, cellphone caller says her child’s been shot with no further information, 11th District,” the dispatcher said across the radio, and that was all Topczewski had to go on.
“As a parent, you don’t like to hear a kid shot. It is what it is out here, but this is a kid,” Topczewski said.
Topczewski arrived at the address, on the block which he described as quiet, not like the chaotic scenes he saw earlier in his shift.
As Topczewski walked through the door, he saw 10-year-old Tavon Tanner lying face-down on the floor with blood coming out of his mouth and nose. The boy’s family said he had been lying on the floor, pounding his fist against the floor before his arms and hands went limp. Topczewski immediately began to render first aid with the medical pack he carried, doing all that he could until paramedics arrived.
The little boy was an innocent bystander in what appeared to be a drive-by shooting. Nearby cars were riddled with bullets, but little Tavon was left with extensive damage to his pancreas, intestines, kidney and spleen. The bullet had traveled through Tavon’s lower back up and into his chest. The boy’s spleen had to be removed, while the other injured organs were repaired.
“It’s a little kid shot,” Topczewski said while attempting to hold back his emotions. “If you’re a parent, you protect your kids. Whether it’s yours or someone else’s. This is what we do. It’s terrible to see a little young kid get shot in crossfire over, over what? It’s not a way to grow up.”
Medical personnel said Tavon will have a long road to recovery.
No suspects are in custody.
[ Chicago Tribune ]