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The boy was in a car traveling northbound on South Lake Shore Drive when he was shot in the right temple, authorities said

By Katie Campione
April 06, 2021 09:30 PM
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road rage shooting
Credit: WGN News

A 21-month-old boy is critically injured after a shooting in Chicago on Tuesday morning.

Police responded to reports of shots fired in the 300 block of South Lake Shore Drive around 11 a.m. The boy was in a car traveling northbound when he was shot in the right temple, authorities told PEOPLE.

The car that the child was in then crashed in the 100 block of North Lake Shore Drive, according to the Chicago Police Department.

Police said witnesses saw a female passenger exit the vehicle with the child. A "Good Samaritan" then transported the woman and child to Northwestern Hospital, said Tom Ahern, CPD deputy director of news & affairs.

road rage shooting
Credit: WGN News

The child eventually was transferred from Northwestern to Lurie's Children Hospital in critical condition, police said.

"We can confirm that this afternoon we received a nearly 2-year-old male child with a serious gunshot wound," Dr. Marcelo Malakooti, associate chief medical officer at Lurie's Children's Hospital, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

"The child sustained a bullet wound to his head and he is in very critical condition currently being treated in our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He is requiring full critical care support. We are doing all we can do for this little boy and thank everyone for their concern."

In a follow-up statement Wednesday, Malakooti said that the child "remains critically ill yet has not worsened."

"He is in a medical coma to protect his brain, and remains on a ventilator which he is fully requiring to support his respiratory system in addition to medications to support his brain through this injury," the statement reads.

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The boy's family identified him as Kayden and told WGN he is in "grave condition" after the bullet struck his brain.

Police believe that the shooting may have stemmed from a road rage incident, Ahern told PEOPLE.

"It appeared from the initial information that it was a traffic altercation of some sort between the two vehicles," he said, adding that investigators are trying to determine "whether there were words exchanged or gestures made."

Commander Jake Alderden said during a news conference Tuesday that "it appears that they are completely unknown to each other and there was a dispute possibly over somebody not letting somebody into a lane of traffic," WGN reports.

Police do not have a description of a suspect or vehicle at this time.