Gun violence rampant in Chicago; what will it take to stop it?
By Mike Flannery, FOX 32 News Political Editor - bio | email
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -
Between 6 pm Thursday and Monday morning, 15 people were shot and killed, with at least 58 others wounded. July is being considered one of the most dangerous months in the city. There’s outrage in the hardest hit neighborhoods.
The mayor prayed and walked with relatives Monday whose families have been rocked by violence, but what is it going to take to stop the shootings?
The mayor expressed his frustration before an anti-violence march, and repeated his message, that police should not be the only ones working to stop the violence.
“They become anxiety-ridden in Chicago when the weather gets warm like this,” Ron Holt said.
And Holt knows, personally. It was 84 degrees in 2007 the day he lost his 16-year-old son, Blair, to a gang member trying to shoot someone else.
Chicago Police know, too. They said they expected the warm 4th of July weekend would find gang-bangers on the street gunning for each other in macho displays of vengeance. The city put hundreds of extra cops on the street, too. However, parts of the South Side, in particular, exploded on Sunday.
The top cop, frankly, couldn't explain.
“It was yesterday that we lost it. Honestly, I asked the question this morning. And we're square-rooting it nine ways from Sunday. What was it that happened yesterday? Was it a fatigue factor,” McCarthy asked.
McCarthy said that many of the extra officers deployed were on overtime, as he knew violence would be a problem over the weekend. Police were directly involved in eight shootings -- targets in three -- firing their own weapons in five incidents. They shot five suspects, including two 16-year-olds who died. McCarthy said preliminary reviews indicated all were justified.
McCarthy said while he knew the weekend would be a bloody one, officials were surprised by the amount of shootings on Sunday.
He once again focused blame on illegal firearms, displaying some of the nearly 3,400 Chicago police have seized so far this year. McCarthy claimed several of last weekend's shooters should have still been in prison for previous crimes. He expressed frustration that the Illinois General Assembly largely ignored his request to impose tougher penalties on gun law violations.
“Does anybody realize what we're talking about here? These are guns. They kill people,” McCarthy added.
Holt favors tougher penalties for gun law violations, but having lost his own son to a bullet, he thinks it would do even more if more Chicago parents had jobs and access to good schools.
“And if they don't get that help, Mike, unfortunately, let's face it, those parents are gonna lose their children to the streets,” Holt added.
, the violence didn't stop Sunday night. Monday, one woman was killed and seven others were wounded in citywide shootings.