Over 4,000 shot, more than 700 killed as violence raged in gun-controlled Chicago in 2020

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CHICAGO, IL – As 2020 ends, most of the world faces the new year with hope in the form of a vaccine to end the tragic loss of life and lifestyle caused by a raging pandemic. Unfortunately, a vaccine cannot end the pandemic of violence bringing death and suffering to Chicago, a city held hostage to gun violence.

Gun violence in Chi-Town has raged in a year that saw 4115 people shot as of December 27, and that number is sure to rise before the Chicago Children’s Choir sings on New Year’s Eve.

The number of people shot has risen dramatically since 2019 when 2703 people were shot. The Chicago Tribune reported that of the shooting victims in 2020, 744 have died.

In a year when Chicago’s new police superintendent David Brown announced his “moon shot” plan in May to bring the city’s annual numbers down to fewer than 300, 700 homicides have occurred in The Windy City as of December 1, another number that has surely risen.

The children in Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D)’s city has not evaded the bloodshed. More than 350 juveniles younger than 18 have been shot in Chicago this year, a 40% increase from 2019. The violence against children in Chicago sparked the “Kids Lives Matter” movement.

In July, dozens of children danced in the streets of Chicago, demonstrating their exhaustion from seeing their playmates killed by gun violence. Hours later, nine-year-old Janari Ricks was shot and killed while playing outside in Cabrini Green.

The violence did not take a break for the holidays. Twenty-two people were shot over the extended Christmas weekend, with eight fatalities.  On Christmas day, three people were shot and killed in the city.

In July, Mayor Lightfoot blamed the city’s increasing gun violence on neighboring states. She said that states with fewer gun regulations were feeding the violence in her city:

“We are being inundated with guns from states that have virtually no gun control, no background checks, (and) no ban on assault weapons. 

On September 29, Mayor Lightfoot released a 108-page “comprehensive violence reduction plan” to address the city’s gun violence plan. The plan calls for more community outreach programs but does not provide an increase in public funding.

The plan sets a goal of substantially reducing the number of homicides per year, and admits the reduction will not reach necessary levels in Mayor Lightfoot’s term:

Chicago would need to have fewer than 177 homicides per year to be on par with Los Angeles and fewer than 97 to be on par with New York City,” the report states. Already this year, Chicago has recorded more than 560 homicides.

“While we do not anticipate reaching Los Angeles or New York City levels during Mayor Lightfoot’s first term, over the next three years, following this plan, we will build the infrastructure and establish the policies and practices that will achieve this reduction in the years to come.”

Mayor Lightfoot places the blame for the violence at the feet of police and systemic racism. In the forward of the plan, she wrote:

“I understand that violence is a complex issue. It has persisted in Chicago for many years because the underlying causes—systemic racism, disinvestment, poverty, failed policing, lack of social services—have gone unaddressed, and the use of policing as the primary solution has failed.”

Some community leaders have criticized the mayor for not providing funding increases to enact the actions called for in the plan. Eddie Bocanegra, who leads the violence prevention program READI Chicago, said he understands the difficult economic situation the city faces in 2020, but that the city will lose money in the long run by not investing in more violence prevention:

In light of what’s taking place in our city, you know, we should be doubling down on efforts … that are showing promise. I’m glad that the mayor’s office has put more than ten million dollars into the office of violence prevention.

“I applaud that. I’m in favor of that. And I’m so glad that is happening under her leadership. But when you compare that budget with other budgets across the city, I can’t help but to wonder how much of violence prevention is a priority.”

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Gun violence in Chicago continues to surge: number of victims under the age of 10 triples from last year

August 4, 2020

 

CHICAGO, IL — The number of shooting victims under the age of 10 has tripled since last year. At the end of July 2020, 24 children, 10 years and younger were shot and five of those innocent children lost their lives.

According to Fox News, as of July 31, there were 2,268 shooting victims of various ages for the year, marking a dramatic increase of 45 percent over the same time frame in 2019.

Of those who were shot, 222 victims were 17 or younger, showing an increase of 36 percent when compared to last year’s statistics.

Additionally, there were 30 children under the age of 17 who were shot to death in 2020, compared with 19 from previous year’s count. Many of the victims were shot while playing in their yards, lounging in their homes, walking down the street, or sitting in car seats. Several of the tragic deaths were infants under the age of 1-year-old.

Over the weekend, 25 people were shot. Nine of those individuals died from their gunshot wounds, including a young boy, who has since been identified as Janari Ricks.

Ricks, a 9-year-old boy was playing with a group of friends when he was shot in the chest. He was pronounced dead an hour after being transported to Lurie Children’s Hospital.

According to police, the gunman walked up to the children and opened fire. Brian McDermott, the Chief of Operations for the Chicago Police said that the young boy, Ricks, was an unintended target. 

Rick’s mother, Jalisa Ford told the Chicago Sun-Times that her son was a straight-A honor roll student preparing to start fourth grade. He called himself “Young Curry” in reference to his favorite basketball player, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Ford said:

“If he wasn’t able to pursue his dreams of becoming an athlete he wanted to do construction. He wanted to help rebuild the community, rebuild something that the kids can enjoy later down the line.”

Ford said that her son had been inside most of the day before the shooting. She said:

“He didn’t come out until 5 and he came out to play with his friends and my baby never been able to make it back home. He was very, very loved by so many people, everything knew him, everyone.”

Darrell Johnson, 39 is facing a first-degree murder charge in the murder of Ricks. Allegedly, surveillance video shows Johnson coming to and from the area of the shooting. Multiple witnesses also identified Johnson as the shooter.

On Monday, during a news conference, Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan credited neighbors with helping officers find Johnson as quickly as they did. Deehihan said in a statement:

“We’re not in this position without the help of the community who came forward and gave us information, which allowed us to identify and arrest the suspect.”

Johnson’s criminal history includes a 2005 conviction for aggravated vehicular hijacking. He was sentenced to serve four years in prison for committing the crime. 

Back on July 4th, a 7-year-old girl was fatally shot at a Fourth of July party with her family. According to reports, the girl was standing on the sidewalk in the 100 block of North Latrobe just after 7 p.m. Two shooters got out of a light-colored car and opened fire in her direction.

The young girl, since identified as Natalia Wallace, was rushed to Stroger Hospital, but was later pronounced dead. According to the autopsy, she died from her injuries and her death has been ruled a homicide. 

So far, police have arrested three men allegedly involved in the deadly shooting of Natalia. Charges have been filed against Reginald Merrill, 33, the alleged driver in the shooting and Davion Mitchell, 22, one of the alleged shooters. 

Terrell Boyd, 30, is now the third person charged in her murder. He was arrested on Monday on a warrant in Racine, Wisconsin.

Chicago is not the only city seeing a spike in gun violence where young children and teenagers end up being the unintended targets. In New York City, there have been 237 homicides in 2020 compared to 181 for the same time frame last year.

In Atlanta, there have been 76 homicides so far this year compared to the 56 for the first seven months of 2019. In Boston, after recording 25 homicides in the first seven months of 2019 they had 35 during the same time period and 15 of those were during July. 

 

 

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