It was another tragic weekend in Chicago. Four people dead, one victim as young as 14-years-old, and 17 wounded in a string of shootings across the Windy City from Friday evening into Monday morning, according to NBC Chicago:
Four people were killed — including a 14-year-old boy — and at least 17 other people have been wounded in Chicago shootings between Friday evening and Monday morning.
The latest homicide happened late Saturday in the South Side Englewood neighborhood.
Michael A. Johnson, 43, was found with a gunshot wound to the head about 10:45 p.m. sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked vehicle in the 700 block of West 59th Street, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Johnson, of the 2900 block of West 79th Street, was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead 11:22 p.m., the medical examiner’s office said.
About an hour earlier, a 14-year-old boy was shot to death in the Gage Park neighborhood on the South Side, police said.
J-Quantae Riles, 14, was walking home from the store with a group of friends in the 2200 block of West 59th Street about 9:30 p.m. when shots rang out, according to Chicago Police and anti-violence activist Andrew Holmes, who spoke with the boy’s mother Sunday.
The city has been saddled with a string of bloody weekends, especially during the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays. Scores have been left dead or wounded. And as the Daily Beast pointed out in October, some of Chicago’s worst neighborhoods see homicide rates that often surpass that of world capitals that are considered the leaders in homicides.
West Garfield Park, population 18,000, had 21 murders last year, which makes for a homicide rate of 116 per 100,000 people. The world’s leader in murders, Honduras, has a homicide rate of 90, according to the United Nations.
Following West Garfield Park in lethality was West Englewood and its 73.3 murder rate, more than second-place Venezuela with its 53.7 rate. Chicago’s Chatham (58) beats Belize (44.7); Englewood (52.6) outdoes El Salvador (41.2); South Chicago (48) tops Guatemala (39.9). The United States as a whole has 4.5 murders per 100,000.
Yet, there also seems to be a breakdown in community policing:
An uptick in shootings and homicides this year is one of the reasons the Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus called for Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s head on Monday.
Lorenzo Davis, a former Chicago police commander who went on to blow the whistle against his former department over whitewashed police shootings, is quick to criticize McCarthy and the force.
Guns are a massive problem, Davis said, but so is the lack of black cops and officials in the department, which doesn’t help relations with the community. Complacency among police and prosecutors, reduced manpower, unwillingness on the part of victims and witnesses to identify suspects—all lead to a street culture that often results in killers going free.
Many have noted that the city’s stringent anti-gun policies have contributed to the bloodshed. The president said that illegal guns from states with lax gun laws are exacerbating the problem at the International Association of Chiefs of Police on October 27. He then went on to rattle off statistics that prove we have a gun violence epidemic, which is false, and why we should have universal background checks, even though all legal gun owners undergo a background check for every gun purchase. It’s the law if you have a federal firearms license, which is where law-abiding citizens go to buy their firearms. No one who isn’t a criminal is buying from the trunk of a car in some dark alley. That’s illegal. And those who buy guns for felons (a straw purchase), that’s also illegal. Yet, loosening gun laws in the city is quite the obstacle given that it’s a Democratic bastion. For now, it seems the Chicago Police Department needs to rework its community outreach to combat crime. That’s something both sides can agree upon.