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3-Year-Old Killed in Gang Fight

December 29, 1997

CHICAGO (AP) _ A 3-year-old boy riding a Big Wheel he got for Christmas was killed by a stray bullet from a gang fight.

German Morales was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital with a gunshot wound in his back late Saturday afternoon.

``Initial indications suggest there was some kind of gang confrontation in the area,″ police spokesman Kevin Morison said. ``Shots were exchanged.″

Edwin Orta, 25, was charged Sunday with one count of first-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder in the case, Morison said.

Cmdr. Phil Cline said four witnesses saw Orta fire the weapon. Cline said Orta had given a statement to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office admitting he was responsible for the boy’s death.

Residents said the shooting involved two rival gangs that have been fighting over the neighborhood of apartment buildings and single-family homes.

``It’s just kind of hard to take,″ said Frizella Appleton, the boy’s aunt.

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