Ivan Burns Sr.'s son needed some fresh air.
The sounds of gunfire in the father and son's area of Roseland came often and regularly earlier in the night, but by early Wednesday morning it seemed to have subsided, and Burns and his 9-year-old son Ivan Jr. walked out their back door to bring their dog Sandy into the home.
"We got out and bam! I heard two shots. Before I even locked the door I saw my son fall," Burns said this afternoon as he stood outside Advocate Hope Children's Hospital.
Inside, Ivan Jr. clung to life, in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head. Police said there was no one in custody in the shooting, which happened at about 3:20 a.m. in the 0-99 block of East 100th Place.
The preceding hours had been normal and uneventful, the older Burns said in an interview. The day before Ivan Jr. had gotten a video game that he wanted, and father and son were playing together Tuesday night when their pit bull Sandy had an accident in the house and they put her in the backyard.
Burns said he wanted to bring the dog in around midnight, but he could hear shooting in the area and so he opted to wait. Just before 3:20 a.m., he decided to get the dog. Ivan Jr. went along because the boy has asthma, and his father thought he needed fresh air.
Ivan Jr. was about 15 feet ahead of his father when the shots rang out. He was rushed to the hospital soon after.
Police said they don't believe the boy was the intended target, but couldn't say whether his father was.
Burns said he wasn't sure where the shots came from and believes his son was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"I know it's not about me. I just go to work and come home, I don't hang out in the neighborhood," he said.
He has been at his son's bedside all day and said he is hopeful that the boy will survive.
"His vital signs are good," the older Burns said. "He hasn't had a chance to live his life."
The boy remains in critical condition but that his condition had stabilized, said Mike Maggio, a hospital spokesman. The boy can't talk because he has a tube down his throat to help him breath.
Ivan Jr. is a 4th-grader at Bennett Elementary School, 10115 S. Prairie Ave., family and schools officials said.
"He's a bright kid. He's like any kid, he wants to have fun," said his aunt, Chiquita Burns. "I call him my baby. My mom practically raised him with his father.
"People need to stop with this senseless shooting," she continued. "They need to realize that our people (are) losing their world over some (nonsense) that other people (are) doing.
"Leave our kids alone!"
Nancy Bailey, a next-door neighbor, said she was awakened by gunshots. "I know they shoot here all the time," she said. "They shot on the Fourth of July."
Bailey said Ivan was staying with his father over the summer. Ivan, she said, was supposed to come over to her house to play on a trampoline.
"He's a nice, polite little boy," she said. "He's always like, 'Hey! You want me to help you?' " she said.
The block where Ivan lives is lined with single-family homes, several of them boarded up. Yellow police tape cordoned off half the block this morning, including outside the home where Ivan was shot.
Bob Jackson, executive director of Roseland CeaseFire, said the neighborhood already was reeling over the shooting death two days ago of a 17-year-old boy at a bus stop at 107th Street and Wentworth Avenue.
"Our biggest thing is to stop the shooting. ... Our kids want to grow up," he said. "And they deserve to grow up and have the opportunity to be productive citizens in the city of Chicago."
Tribune reporter Andrew L. Wang contributed.Copyright © 2015, RedEye