Liberian Billboard International Desk– A spate of mass shootings in Chicago left at least five people dead and 50 others wounded during a night of catastrophic violence in Chicago.
During a Sunday press conference, police officials said there are so many investigations into so many shootings that they could offer few specifics. But everyone from congressmen to community activists agree the shootings mark a crisis point in Chicago’s struggle with violence. Dozens and dozens of families waited for word on shooting victims being treated at Stroger Hospital Sunday afternoon. Police blocked the emergency room driveway amid rising tensions.
“This hospital is almost like a trauma center in a war zone,” community activist Eric Russell said. According to police, at least five people were killed and nearly 50 others wounded in shootings in during a 24-hour period from Saturday into Sunday. “It affects the whole community,” Ald. Walter Burnett said. “What can we do? We don’t know what to do.”
The violence included an unheard-of five mass shootings where three or more people were shot. Just after midnight, neighbors left in the street after a block party were targeted in Lawndale. Four were shot, including three teens. Later in Gresham, assailants opened fire on a gathering in a courtyard around 12:30 a.m., wounding eight, including three teens.
During in attempted drive-by shooting in West Humboldt Park just before 1 a.m., four people were injured as someone on the street returned fire and the vehicle crashed. Then around 2:25 a.m., three women standing on a front porch were wounded as two groups of men exchanged gunfire in West Garfield Park.
Then around 2:30 a.m., a group including children and teens were standing on a sidewalk in the Lawndale neighborhood when they were targeted by gunfire. A 17-year-old girl was shot in the face and killed. Five others, including an 11-year-old boy and three teens, were wounded.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the shootings unacceptable, and pledged that the police were doing everything possible to protect all parts of the city. “We have way too many guns on the street an not enough values,” Emanuel said.
Despite the fact that Chicago police have taken 5,500 illegal guns off the streets so far this year and the city’s homicide rate is declining, CPD Chief of Patrol Fred Waller was blunt in his assessment of the weekend. Challenged by a community member to explain police strategy, he questioned why so many teens were out so late at night. “Everyone has to be accountable, not just the police department,” Waller said. Congressman Danny Davis said the city had become a symbol of the need for national gun control. “We do not do enough to control the flow of guns – especially automatic weapons,” Rep. Davis said Sunday.
In the meantime, as retaliation shootings are feared, police say they will be conducting coordinated enforcement in targeted neighborhoods. “We won’t be overrun by that small group that small element that’s committing these reckless acts. We will not – I promise you – we will not be defeated,” Waller said.
Police say there have been some arrests but could not detail specific cases. Officials said there were ten shooting incidents in a three-hour span in the early hours of Sunday morning alone.
Just after midnight, a group of people was gathered on the 1600 block of South Avers after a neighborhood block party, police said, when two men exited a vehicle and shot into the crowd before fleeing. Four people were wounded, including a 13-year old boy, a 16-year-old boy, a 17-year-old girl and a 25-year-old woman. All were transported to area hospitals in stable condition.
A 20-year-old woman was shot in the stomach in a drive-by shooting on the 3700 block of West Altgeld around 12:05 a.m. and taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital in serious condition. Later, an 18-year-old man was shot multiple times on the 4100 block of West Cullerton around 12:23 a.m., and taken to Stroger Hospital in guarded condition.
Police said a group of people were gathered in the courtyard of a building on the 1300 block of West 76th Street around 12:30 a.m. when several men approached on foot and fired shots at the crowd. Among the victims were a 14-year-old girl who was shot in the hand, and two 17-year-old girls who were shot in the legs, and taken to area hospitals in stable condition. Five other people were also wounded and taken to area hospitals in stable condition. Then before 1 a.m., shots were fired from a passing car at a group of people on the 900 block of North Karlov Avenue and someone in the crowd fired back, causing the vehicle to crash. Three people in the crowd were injured, including a 29-year-old man, a 30-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man, and they were all taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition. Police said a 43-year-old man walking down the street was also caught in the crossfire, suffering a gunshot wound to the thigh. He was also taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition. The two individuals in the car fled on foot, police said.
A 26-year-old man was walking on the sidewalk on the 4800 block of S. Paulina around 1:03 a.m. when he was shot by a man driving by in a white Jeep. The victim was transported to Mt. Sinai in critical condition and later pronounced dead. The Jeep was later found set on fire on the 4300 block of S. Paulina with no one inside. Then around 1:30 a.m. a 26-year-old man was also wounded in a drive-by shooting on the 3200 block of South Keeler and self-transported to UIC Hospital.
Three women were standing on a front porch on the 4700 block of West Gladys around 2:26 a.m. when two groups of males began firing on one another, police said. A 29-year-old woman was shot in the back, and taken to Stroger Hospital in stable condition. A 28-year-old and 41-year-old women were also wounded and taken to the hospital in stable condition. Around 2:34 a.m. a group including teens and children were standing on the sidewalk on the 1300 block of South Millard when two men approached on foot and fired shots. A 17-year-old girl was shot in the face and pronounced dead on the scene. An 11-year-old boy was shot in the leg and taken to Mt. Sinai in stable condition. Also wounded were a 14-year-old boy, 17-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy who were taken to hospitals in stable condition. A 21-year-old woman was shot in the back and arm and taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital in critical condition. A 14-year-old boy was on the 200 block of South Pulaski around 2:50 a.m. when he heard shots and was wounded in the leg. He was taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition. Police said around 4:15 a.m. Sunday, four men were wounded on the 1600 block of North LeClaire, including a 19-year-old shot in the back of the head and pronounced dead on the scene.
Another group of people were wounded on the 3300 block of North LeClaire around 6:50 a.m. Sunday, police said, including a 32-year-old man who was shot four times and pronounced dead on the scene. A 30-year-old man shot in the back of the head and is in critical condition. A 27-year-old woman, 21-year-old woman and 34-year-old woman were also wounded and are in good condition or have been released from the hospital.