Violent weekend worst since July Fourth: ‘It’s so bad out here’

Chicago Tribune

Rose Alexander just couldn’t get away from the shooting over the weekend.

Friday night, her adult son was shot in the leg near his home in West Garfield Park. She didn’t venture out of her house until Sunday night, and then only to escort her brother home. But the two of them soon ran into a crime scene along a stretch of Madison Street where four people had been wounded in three shooting incidents over two hours.

The brother and sister separated at Central Avenue and she yelled after him, “Call me as soon as you get home. I mean it. As soon as you walk in the door.”  

Alexander, 56, stayed back and watched the police work. “It’s so bad out here. They don’t care who they shoot,” she said. “It’s just a shame. They wanna fight back and retaliate but should fight back with the law. It just gets worse and worse.

“I just can’t take it. It’s ridiculous. I can’t take it, it’s so sad.”

More people were shot in Chicago over the weekend than on any other this year, except for the long July Fourth holiday that stretched four days, according to police and data kept by the Chicago Tribune.

At least 63 people were shot and eight of them were killed, police said. More than half were wounded over 13 hours from Saturday to early Sunday. At least 16 more were shot through the day Sunday, including the four on Madison in South Austin.

While the shootings occurred across the city, two police districts bore the brunt: Calumet on the south, with 12 shootings, and Austin on the west with 11, according to police.

The level of violence exceeded the 52 shot during the three-day Memorial Day weekend, but it fell short of the 102 hit by gunfire over the Fourth of July weekend, according to Tribune data. Despite the bad weekend, fewer people have been shot in Chicago this year than at this time last year: 2,435 compared with 2,710.

There have been at least 451 homicides this year, 16 fewer than this time last year, Tribune data show.

Anthony Guglielmi, chief spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, said Monday that police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was frustrated by the violent weekend.

“We’re doing a very deep dive today. There’s still a lot of work to be done on the victimology,” he said. “The superintendent was frustrated this morning. Again, this represents the culture of Chicago. We can’t arrest our way out of this when the criminal justice system in Chicago is not a deterrent.”

Johnson has long been vocal about wanting tougher sentencing guidelines for gun offenders. Gov. Bruce Rauner this year signed legislation, advocated by Johnson, that will increase the sentencing guidelines for judges deciding punishment for repeat gun felons. Instead of a range of three to 14 years, judges are to hand out sentences in the range of seven to 14 years, according to the legislation. It will go into effect in January.

In his past calls for the legislation, Johnson said while it’s important to address the economic woes of impoverished, crime-ridden neighborhoods, grieving families that have lost loved ones to violence want answers now.

“Right now, when I go into homes on the South and West sides of Chicago, those mothers aren’t asking me about long-term solutions,” he said. “They want to know, ‘How come that guy killed my son and is still out there?'”

Guglielmi said many of the people involved in the shootings — both victims and perpetrators — this weekend were involved in moving marijuana, and many have lengthy arrest histories. In fact, he said everyone who was shot in the Austin District this weekend was a known gang member.

He also said Austin is down 22 percent in homicides and 17 percent in shootings from last year.

“Last year (Austin) was the one that was driving the increase,” Guglielmi said. “The decline, it’s certainly not a call for celebration, it’s a call for action and we’re still trying to get ahead of some of these conflicts.”

Twelve of the 63 people wounded in the weekend’s attacks were shot in the Calumet District on the city’s Far South Side. That district had only seven people shot the entire month leading up to this weekend.

The shootings included one in which seven people were wounded when someone opened fire from a black SUV toward a crowd in a parking lot. A 33-year-old man died and six others between the ages of 30 and 36 were wounded. That attack, about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, happened near 119th Street and Loomis Street in the West Pullman neighborhood. Guglielmi said the deceased likely was the target of all the gunfire, and added that the man previously had been shot in 2009 and had been arrested 31 times.

Three people were shot near 101st Street and LaSalle in the Fernwood neighborhood Sunday night where police followed a blood trail and found a gun. A 16-year-old boy, 48-year-old man and 58-year-old man were wounded in an attack that police said “stemmed from a fight at a house party.”

Earlier in the weekend, two people were shot near 122nd and Green streets. A man died of a head wound and a woman suffered leg wounds.

The district has had 115 people shot this year, of the 2,435 people shot across the city.

Others wounded included a 14-year-old boy grazed in the chest and left knee while he was walking with his sister and a friend just before 9:30 p.m. Friday in Pilsen.

An officer-involved shooting Saturday night left a 33-year-old man with graze wounds to the head. Police said he confronted police with a gun and an officer fired.

Alexander’s son was shot on the West Side at 11:38 p.m. Friday, outside his home in the 100 block of North Kildare Avenue while he was sitting in a car, police said.

Going forward, Guglielmi said there is a lot of camera footage for the department to review to try and solve the shooting cases. He said the department has shifted some officers from area saturation teams to patrolling the communities that were affected. There also will be some tactical teams brought in to address the narcotics trafficking.

“Despite this very, very challenging and unacceptable weekend of violence, we’re still better than last year,” he said.

One thought on “Violent weekend worst since July Fourth: ‘It’s so bad out here’

  1. What is the government’s answer to every problem? Pass more ridiculous laws, restrict freedom and steal more money. But, make absolutely sure you do nothing to address the real problem. Just how big of an IDIOT do you have to be to believe anything these morons say.

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