Caught in the Crossfire
E. Jason Wambsgans
Oct. 14, 2016 Chicago
2016 was Chicago's deadliest year in nearly two decades. Nightly shootings in the city's poorest neighborhoods sent the murder rate soaring. Dozens of victims were children: innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire.
Tavon Tanner, 10, was gazing at the moon from his family's porch when a bullet ripped through his body, tearing into his pancreas, stomach, spleen, a kidney and his left lung before lodging below his shoulder. His sister screamed, "Twin, don't leave me."
Chicago Tribune photographer Jason Wambsgans was with the family as Tavon recovered and had surgery to remove the bullet. Tavon has nightmares and a permanent risk of infection. His mother left her job to care for him. Months later, his shooter remained unknown.
The first time he met Tavon, Wambsgans asked the boy to show him his scar. Tavon lifted his shirt. "I shot two frames and I looked at the back of my camera and a shock went through me," said Wambsgans. "I turned the camera off and thanked him. I knew it was more than enough to tell the story."