After shots were fired at the porch of a Chicago two-flat where two teenagers were sitting, doctors say 13-year-old Rony Monzon is lucky to be alive.
Deneysi Valdovinos, 14, was sitting on the porch alongside Monzon, who doctors say was fortunate the three bullets that struck him Wednesday night missed any vital organs. That Valdovinos emerged unscathed in the shooting had everything to do with Monzon, her friend since childhood.
"He took the bullets," Valdovinos told the Chicago Sun-Times. "They would have hit me in the head, but he stood up in front of me and they hit him instead."
Valdovinos and Monzon, who have been friends since childhood since their families share a two-flat on the 2400 block of West 47th Place in the city's Brighton Park neighborhood, are not involved in gangs, their parents told WGN. But in their neighborhood, gang violence is rampant, and this year in Chicago, shootings have been on the rise.
Two weeks before Monzon was shot, 7-year-old Heaven Sutton was killed while selling snow cones with her mother on the sidewalk in the city's North Austin neighborhood. On Tuesday two girls, ages 12 and 14, were injured in a drive-by shooting on the city's Far South Side.
Monzon was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery, according to NBC Chicago. His father Rony Monzon Sr. told the station his son was "real lucky because one of the bullets passed close by the heart." The teen was shot in the chest, arm and hip.
Neighbor Nadia Reyes, 18, told the Chicago Tribune the shooting has made her more concerned for her safety in the Southwest Side neighborhood.
"If you're near them, there could be a drive-by and [a bullet] hits you, too," she told the newspaper. "Usually we're out at night, but I doubt that's going to happen anymore."
Valdovinos told ABC Chicago she believes gang members who live on their block were the intended targets. No arrests have been made in connection with the shooting.
Eight people were shot in Chicago that night, five of them teenagers, according to CBS Chicago.