Chicago father Corneal Westbrooks is calling for city leaders to "stop pointing fingers" at each other and take quick action to stem the city's rampant violence in the aftermath of his son, 15-year-old Caleb, being shot and killed while trying to go home after school.
The elder Westbrooks said the family's world is "shattered."
"Caleb was a smart, vivacious and athletic teenager who was looking forward to a bright future with goals and dreams that will now go unfulfilled," he said.
"Unfortunately, this senseless violence is likely to continue unabated until the elected and appointed leadership of the city and county stop pointing fingers at one another and take personal responsibility for the role they have played in the disintegration of the criminal justice system as well as the lack of critical mental health services in Chicago and Cook County," Westbrooks continued.
"We want to thank his friends and witnesses who, after hearing the shots, ran to him, comforted him and stayed with him," the father added. "We also want to thank the paramedic/EMTs who cared for him and got him to the hospital, the 12th District police officers who were on scene and the detectives now investigating this heinous crime," he said, adding, "How did our city get here?” Corneal Westbrooks asked. “Have Chicagoans become desensitized to the violence that permeates virtually every corner of our city?"
The Chicago Sun-Times reported a total of nine people were shot last Tuesday. Caleb was one of five teenagers who were shot. The Tribune recorded 797 people were killed in 2021 — 25 more than in 2020. Less than a month into 2022, 34 people have been killed.