( 4UMF NEWS ) 82 Shootings In Chicago Over Holiday Weekend:
Violence in Chicago over the holiday weekend once again garnered national attention after more than 80 people were shot, at least 15 of them fatally.
“It’s Groundhog Day in Chicago,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said on Monday. He ran through a list of the shootings, focusing on the guns the alleged offenders had- and their criminal pasts.
“He shouldn’t have been on the street,” McCarthy said several times while talking about the alleged offenders. “It all comes down to guns. Too many guns coming in, too little punishment going out.”
McCarthy said many armed Chicago gang members will not surrender themselves or their weapons when pursued by police because they fear repercussions from their leaders.
“They would rather save that gun than to lose that gun and go back and say I lost that gun,” community activist Andrew Holmes said.
Between 4 p.m. Thursday, July 3, and 3:30 a.m. Monday, 82 people were shot on the streets of Chicago. Fourteen of them died. McCarthy cited lower numbers- and a shorter time span from 6 p.m. Thursday to midnight Monday – during his news conference.
In eight incidents, Chicago police officers were threatened or shot at and returned fire, McCarthy said. Police wounded five people, killing two of them, in those shootings.
“Officers do not relish using a weapon in the course of their work. But when they find themselves in confrontations… they must do what is best to protect themselves and the public,” he said. He became emotional talking about how officers put their lives on their line every day.
The police-involved shootings are under review, as standard procedure.
Parents of teen shot by police speak out
Just before 10 p.m. in the 3800 block of North Cicero on the Fourth of July, Pedro Rios Jr. became a statistic. The 14-year-old was shot and killed by Chicago police after allegedly pointing a 44-magnum at an officer.
“My son was a good child, I don’t know why he changed,” said Laura Rios.
“A lot of people will say where were the police and what were the police doing? And that’s a fair question, but not the only question. Where are the parents?” said Mayor Emanuel.
Pedro Rios’ parents reported him missing two weeks ago. A relative says the family was increasingly concerned about the crowd he was running with.
“A parent does what they can do at home. A kid leaves and you have these gang bangers standing around waiting to clip these kids up and do their dirty work,” said Susan Diaz, whose relative was shot by police.
Who are the murderers and their victims? A 2011 Chicago police analysis found 90 percent of murder victims in the city are men, 76 percent of victims have prior arrest records, and the most common ages of killers are 17 and 18 years old.
“These officers are putting their lives on the line. Does anybody realize what we’re talking about here? There are guns, they kill people!” said Supt. Garry McCarthy, Chicago Police Department.
Police review holiday weekend strategies to combat shootings
McCarthy said his department’s strategy for holiday weekends is also under review.
“We’re going to keep building on our strategy. We’re taking it apart and trying to figure out what happened this weekend,” McCarthy said. “We’re not throwing out the baby with the bath water.”
He said over the holiday weekend hundreds of extra police officers were on patrol across in many of the most violent dangerous neighborhoods.
“We had three days in a row in which we were moving in the right direction. On the fourth day, it kind of reversed itself,” McCarthy said. On Sunday, 21 shootings were reported.
“I need to know what happened Sunday,” he said. “Because Thursday, Friday, Saturday, while it was busy- very, very busy- we still made advances. It was yesterday that we lost it.”
Police said most of the shootings took place on the city’s South Side. One of those occurred in Gloria Washington’s neighborhood. Just before 11:30 p.m. Sunday, one man was killed and two others were injured near 80th and Exchange. At least one of them was an innocent bystander, police said.
“There are no swings. No basketball courts. They holler, ‘This is my turf.’ No. I pay $1,200 a year in taxes. This is my turf. OK. And they need something for young people,” Washington said.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel repeated his mantra that violence is a citywide issue on Monday.
“The gun violence that was part of this weekend was totally unacceptable to every resident from the city of Chicago regardless of where they lift,” Emanuel said. “Where are the parents? Where are the communities? Where are the gun laws?”
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk wants the federal government to help investigate the shootings in Chicago.
“We’re announcing soon a goal to track, to provide federal ballistics on every gun crime in Chicago,” Kirk said.
In 2013, 12 people were killed and nearly 75 injured during the four-day holiday weekend. Independence Day fell on a Thursday last year.
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