EAST CHICAGO — A child was shot in front of a playground in East Chicago Friday night, according to police. The normally crowded park was quiet Friday evening, with police tape wrapped around playground equipment, stretching to the nearby street.

East Chicago police were alerted to several shots fired at 6:50 p.m. in the 3700 block of Alder Street in front of Callahan Park in East Chicago, Deputy Chief Jose Rivera said.

Shotspotter, a gunfire detector system that alerts police to the location and time of shots fired, alerted officers, who were on the scene soon after.

The child was hit with a single bullet and the injury was non-life-threatening, Rivera said. The child was taken to the hospital and their current condition is unknown.

Because the investigation is ongoing, Rivera said limited information can be released at this time. A neighbor said she was sitting on her porch when the shooting happened.

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Ardis Johnson, of East Chicago, said she lives next door to the family whose child was shot. She said the occupants of two vehicles fired multiple shots while driving on Alder Street and a bullet went through the back of the parked vehicle the child was in. The suspects then drove away from the scene.

“There were kids running everywhere,” Johnson said of the normally crowded park. “I told my grandkids to get inside the house, and I went over and saw the bullet hole. I didn't know anyone was shot until I saw the blood.”

A vehicle with an apparent bullet hole through the rear window was parked in front of Callahan Park and was being photographed by investigators Friday evening.

Johnson said the family was in the vehicle ready to head to Chuck E. Cheese for the child's 10th birthday. She said she ran to the vehicle where she and the child's mother tended to the boy until an ambulance arrived. Johnson said the boy was shot in the stomach and was conscious as the family waited for the ambulance.

Anyone with information can call the East Chicago Police Department's anonymous tip line at 219-391-8500.

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Night Crime/Breaking News Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts, investigative news and more. She is a Region native and graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology.