Chicago holiday weekend sees 109 shot with 19 fatalities in citywide gun violence

Chicago holiday weekend sees 109 shot with 19 fatalities in citywide gun violence

Chicago experienced a devastating surge in gun violence over the extended Fourth of July holiday weekend, with 109 people shot and 19 fatalities reported citywide. The violence spanned from midnight Wednesday to midnight Monday, according to police reports.

During a press conference on Monday, Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling and Mayor Brandon Johnson emphasized the need for accountability and community involvement to address the crisis. “This is a choice. The choice to kill women, children, and the elderly. These are calculated choices made by offenders,” Mayor Johnson stated. “We are holding every single individual accountable for the pain and torment they have caused in this city.”

Superintendent Snelling noted that adjustments were made after the Fourth of July, including canceling officers’ days off, but stressed the importance of community cooperation. “We need to think about the mindset of someone who will shoot a child or an unarmed mother and think that’s okay. Those people have to be taken off the street,” he said.

Mayor Johnson called for more resources from the federal government to invest in communities and urged city residents to step up and demand change. “I am urging all of you across the entire city to step up and say, ‘We’ve had enough,'” Johnson said. “Our ongoing discussions with state and federal partners will hopefully bring swift support to the city of Chicago. The city cannot afford to wait any longer.”

Johnson also highlighted the long-standing issue of violence in Black communities, stating, “Black death has been unfortunately accepted in this country for a very long time. Let’s tell the full story of how we got here, because if you skip a chapter, it won’t give us the ability to make the proper adjustments.”

Despite the efforts, some South Side alderpersons believe more proactive measures are needed. Ald. Jeannette Taylor credited a coordinated effort and good relationships with police and residents for the lack of shootings in her 20th Ward over the holiday. “We need a coordinated effort that we start to work on in January, not in April, not in May, not in June, in January,” Taylor said.

Ald. David Moore and Ald. Anthony Beale also weighed in, emphasizing the importance of being present and visible in the community. Johnson, who was out of town on July 4, returned on Friday night and joined Snelling in the Grand Crossing neighborhood.

The weekend’s violence included several mass shootings. In one incident, two women and an 8-year-old boy were killed, and two young boys were left in critical condition after multiple shooters opened fire into a Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood home. At least 19 of those shot were in mass shootings in Austin, Greater Grand Crossing, and Little Italy.

One of the victims, Melvin Hill, a 36-year-old father and aspiring musician, was found shot to death inside his West Side home. His sister, Lawanda Hill, expressed her grief, saying, “My tears and my hurt is that he’s not going to be here anymore.” Neighbors reported hearing gunshots the night before, and Hill’s body was discovered on his kitchen floor.

Other incidents included a drive-by shooting in the South Loop that left a man dead and a woman injured, and a shootout in South Shore that resulted in the death of a 25-year-old man. In another case, a 16-year-old girl was critically wounded in a North Lawndale residential complex.

The violence also extended to the city’s Northwest Side, where two men were shot to death in the Albany Park neighborhood. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victims as 20-year-old Victor H. Rodriguez and 21-year-old Jaime I. Serrano.

Despite the grim statistics, Mayor Johnson’s summer safety plan showed some impact, with this year’s holiday weekend violence numbers lower than last year’s. Last year, 53 people were shot, 11 fatally, over the same period.

Vaughn Bryant, executive director of the Metropolitan Peace Initiatives, emphasized the need for community involvement in reducing gun violence. “When you grow up in an environment where there’s trauma, you don’t resolve your conflicts in an adaptive way,” Bryant said. “It’s our city, and anything that is happening in our city as citizens, it’s our responsibility.”

Cardinal Blase Cupich also released a statement on the violence, calling for action to address the gun violence epidemic in America. “We have a gun violence epidemic in America, and it is far past time for us to do something about it,” Cupich said.

An Emergency Services Assistance Center is scheduled to open on Tuesday to support people impacted by the violence during the holiday weekend. The center will be located at Fosco Park on Racine Avenue in Little Italy and will be open from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The city continues to grapple with the lasting impact of gun violence, and officials are urging residents to come together to create safer communities. “It really takes a village. The mayor can’t do it by himself,” Lawanda Hill said. “They truly have to have people that care about people to make change.”

Source: WLS-TV, ABC7 Chicago

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