Community members and religious leaders gather for a March 23 vigil at the site, in Austin, where four boys were shot. | Screenshot

A vigil was held on March 23 at the corner of Washington Boulevard and North Waller, the site where four boys were shot in Austin on March 21.

According to police, the group of boys were standing on that corner at around 8:50 p.m., when an unidentified person walked up to them and started shooting.

A 12-year-old and 16-year-old were shot in the abdomen. The two victims were rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in North Lawndale. A 14-year-old who was shot in the stomach and a 15-year-old who was shot in the leg were both rushed to Stroger Hospital.

According to police, all of the victims are in stable condition. No suspects were in custody at the time of this report.

“I’m just here because I want to pray for peace in Austin and pay my respects for the people who have been affected by violence in our community,” said Jennifer Nordstrom, an interim minister at Third Unitarian Church in Austin, which is roughly four blocks from where the shooting incident happened. 

“I wasn’t born yesterday, so I’ve seen a lot of things change in our neighborhood,” said Rev. Ira Acree, pastor of the Greater St. John Bible Church in Austin. Acree posted a video of the vigil to his Facebook account on the day it took place.

“Gangs are not new to our neighborhood. What is new is that a line is being crossed. Then, there was a code of ethics among gang and drug leaders. They would not shoot kids. They would not shoot our mothers and our daughters. But now, it seems like everything is fair game.

“If these guys have the audacity to kill kids, we as parents, uncles, aunts should have the same kind of courage to say you cannot stay in this house. We’ve got to stop coddling criminals and harboring them in our households.”