CHICAGO, IL – The violence in Chicago can be described as an epidemic in it’s own right, where the past week saw six children fatally gunned down and the previous weekend seeing 18 people killed and 47 people wounded by gunfire.
Say their names. At least 18 people were killed and another 47 wounded in shootings over the weekend in Chicago.
Overall, at least 142 people have been killed and 699 wounded on weekends alone since the start of the year. https://t.co/pyfi4Xqnul
— MRCTV (@mrctv) June 29, 2020
A shrine rests on South Michigan Avenue near 116th Street within the city that hosts the names of children who have been killed by gunfire in Chicago.
Hundreds of names are written upon stones within the shrine erected by Diane Latiker, where now six more names will be added to the memorial.
6 cute and precious children murdered in Chicago within a single week – when will the violence end? I hope every single one of these murderers get what they deserve 🤬https://t.co/yA5YcR3p5A
— Rick McGovern (@rickmcgovern) June 29, 2020
One of those recently lost due to gunfire was 10-year-old Lena Nunez, who was reportedly struck by a stray bullet that hit her while she was inside of an apartment in Logan Square. The bullet was said to have entered through the window of the apartment at around 9:40 p.m. on June 27th, striking the young girl in the head.
According to a GoFundMe page established to help with funeral arrangements of the young girl, Lena was watching TV with her brother at her grandmother’s home when she was killed:
“Lena was a sweet little girl filled with joy, hopes and dreams. Her untimely death has broken the hearts of many, [especially] those of her parents, brother and family.”
A beautiful tribute to 10 y/o Lena Nunez Anaya. Her life was cut short Saturday when she was hit by a stray bullet while watching TV at her grandmother’s on W. Dickens & Drake. A $2K reward is offered in her case. Her father created this @gofundme: https://t.co/HbNCdKYHCg pic.twitter.com/vHEDUUJ8us
— Courtney Gousman (@cgousman) June 29, 2020
Recent data on gun violence in Chicago suggests that the city is on track to usurp gun-related deaths not involving suicide this year when compared to 2019.
Pam Bosley knows all too well about the pain that comes with losing a child, as her son Terrell was gunned down outside of a church 14 years ago. In the time since her son passed away, she’s been working with St. Sabina’s Parish to address gun violence within the city.
Bosley noted that since her work within the community dating all those years back, she’s never seen it as bad as it is now:
“You know with the pandemic you had a lot of churches was closed. Everything was closed. That left our youth on the streets, that left them out there with nothing to do, a lot of time on their hands and I’ve been doing this since 2006 and I never, ever saw the violence like this.”
A local entrepreneur in Chicago, Earley Walker, was especially aggrieved at the murder of 1-year-old Sincere Gaston that occurred on June 27th. Walker, along with other residents of Chicago, are offering a $25,000 reward for anyone that can reveal the identity of who was behind the young boy’s murder:
“We have decided to correlate a group of business owners, and it’s a group fed up with gun violence in our communities. Something has to be done. We are tired and fed up with gun violence, and the innocent bystanders are being killed. Our kids are dying at a fast rate, and it’s time for change.”
— NBC Chicago (@nbcchicago) June 28, 2020
The group who raised the funds alongside Walker have aptly dubbed themselves “I’m Telling, Don’t Shoot.”
According to reports, baby Gaston’s death was the result of a double shooting said to have happened in Chicago’s Englewood area on June 27th. Police say that the drive-by shooting resulted in the child’s mother being hit with gunfire as well.
20-month-old Sincere Gaston, who was shot in his car seat while riding with his mom in the Englewood neighborhood, died on Saturday afternoon. https://t.co/w82jvrd4iH
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) June 28, 2020
On the afternoon of the shooting, police say that one-year-old Sincere Gaston and his 22-year-old mother were headed over to a local laundromat while inside of their red Honda Accord. Then, tragedy struck, as numerous bullets ripped through the family’s vehicle.
The mother was said to have suffered a graze wound to the head from the shooting, while the young Sincere unfortunately died as a result of the sustained gunshot wounds. Authorities did not detail if there’s any person of interest, but are certain that the gunfire wasn’t random.
Investigators noted that there were several bullet holes through the passenger side portion of the vehicle, as well as numerous bullet holes that appeared to have come in through the rear window. Overall, police say that at least seven shots were directly fired at the vehicle.
The shooting was said to have taken place around the 6000 block of South Halsted Street, according to police. Chief Waller stated the following about the tragic loss of such a young boy:
“When is this gonna stop? When are we going to say enough is enough? I don’t even have the words for that family… we will catch the person who killed this kid, but it’s not going to bring the kid back.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also commented on the murder, noting how she has become “tired” of having to bury children within her city:
“The pain of losing a child never goes away. Today, we lost more young people to the gun violence epidemic: a 17-year-old in Humboldt Park and a 1-year-old in Englewood. As a mother, I am tired of the funerals. I am tired of burying our children.”
The pain of losing a child never goes away. Today, we lost more young people to the gun violence epidemic: a 17-year-old in Humboldt Park and a 1-year-old in Englewood. As a mother, I am tired of the funerals. I am tired of burying our children.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) June 27, 2020
Chicago police Superintendent David Brown issued a statement on the murder via an email sent to the Chicago Tribune that stated the following:
“We ALL need to be outraged by the violence we are seeing in our city. This baby, and all of our residents, deserve better.”
Superintendent Brown’s statement continued the statement, noting that these matters shouldn’t just be relegated to certain areas within Chicago to address, but that these incidents are a matter for all of Chicago to acknowledge:
“This is not just a problem that Englewood needs to solve. This is not just a problem on the South Side or the West Side. We cannot compartmentalize the violence that is tearing families and communities apart. Someone knows something.”
With a culture present in today’s society of shielding those who engage in criminal activity, Superintendent Brown stated that the time has come to end such practices and to come forward with information that can identify these murderers:
“For the sake of Chicago’s children, please come forward to help bring the trigger pullers to justice.”
Police are still seeking out the suspect(s) involved in a murder within Chicago that would cause any parent to lose sleep merely thinking about it.
A horrific shooting occurred within the Austin area of Chicago during the evening of June 20th, where a 3-year-old toddler was killed after a suspect pulled up to the boy’s stepfather’s SUV and opened fire.
Police say the boy’s 27-year-old stepfather was believed to be the intended target for the shooting that occurred at approximately 6:25 p.m. on June 20th in the 600 block of North Central Avenue.
— T Smith (@Tobit65467987) June 21, 2020
The toddler, Mekhi James, was struck in the back when a blue Honda pulled up to the black SUV that the victims were inside of and unleashed several rounds, according to Chicago Police Chief of Operations Fred Waller.
A statement by Chief Waller requested assistance from the public to help identify a suspect in the case:
“We have the detectives out here canvassing right now, so we’re going to be asking for a lot of help from this community. We’re going to the asking Austin to step up.”
The child’s stepfather, who was said to have been grazed by a bullet on his abdomen, rushed the child over to the West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park. Unfortunately, the young child was pronounced deceased shortly after arriving.
It was reported that the child and his stepfather were on their way home from the barber shop when the shooting happened, according to friends and family members who gathered outside of the hospital on the evening of June 20th.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was said to have urged members of the community to come forward with any information they might have on the suspects, or suspects, involved in this murder:
“To the despicable individuals responsible for this senseless act of violence, you have no place in this city, no home in our communities, no shelter to hide.”
CHILD KILLED: 3-year-old Mekhi James was shot & killed in the 600 block of North Central, Austin neighborhood, West Side on June 20, 2020. The child was traveling in a vehicle with his stepfather. Seen/heard anything tip at https://t.co/opauvHS2ys. Our condolences. pic.twitter.com/RL3rk92QcA
— Pastor Donovan Price (@sltionsnresrces) June 21, 2020
Andrew Holmes, a local community activist, spoke outside of the hospital where young Mekhi was pronounced dead:
“Let’s go to work, let’s find the shooter, let’s get him in tonight.”
Holmes is said to be offering a $2,000 reward for any information that can lead to an arrest and conviction of the shooter involved.
There’s no word on any suspects in the case at this time.
It’s unfathomable to imagine the toll and heartbreak that comes with losing a child at such a young age and in such a violent manner. What’s more difficult to grasp is the pain of losing a child merely one day before we celebrate fatherhood in America.
To the family of young Mekhi, we at Law Enforcement Today will be extending our prayers to you during what has to be one of the most difficult losses one could encounter.
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