Two children — a 7-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy — were among the more a dozen killed in Chicago this weekend, as the city suffers through its worst streak of gun violence in years.
Of the nearly 70 wounded in the city between Friday night and Sunday morning, nine were minors. Several were shot in two eight-plus victim mass shootings, both on the city’s south side, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, which has been tracking the city’s dramatic uptick in gun crime since late May, when Chicago began to release its coronavirus-related lockdown measures.
“A 14-year-old boy was among four people killed in a shooting that wounded four others Saturday night in Englewood on the South Side,” the outlet reported Sunday morning. “They were at a large gathering in the street about 11:35 p.m. in the 6100 block of South Carpenter Street when four males walked up and started shooting, according to Chicago police. The 14-year-old boy was hit in the back and pronounced dead at Comer Children’s Hospital.”
An 11-year-old and a 15-year-old were also wounded in that shooting, and three men were killed.
The 7-year-old girl, Natalie Wallace, was celebrating the Fourth of July with her family at her grandmother’s home when, in a similar fashion, “a vehicle pulled up and three men got out and started shooting indiscriminately,” according to Fox News.
“Three men got out of a white car and shot more than 20 rounds in the direction of the people holding the party,” the Sun-Times added, noting that a 32-year-old man was also injured in the fray.
“It was a family gathering so there was many kids. There were kids riding on bicycles enjoin the Fourth of July as they have should have been and now this child is gone,” a Chicago Police Department spokesperson told the local ABC News affiliate, ABC7 Chicago.
In just five days, the month of July has seen 18 people shot and killed and more than 80 shot and wounded. Four children under the age of 10 have been killed in as many weeks, one, Sincere Gaston, a 20-month-old boy, was riding home with his mother from the laundromat when their car was ambushed by a gunman and he was killed.
Chicago Police detailed their plan to contain the violence, adding 1,200 officer shifts to the calendar across the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and announced a violence prevention board charged with identifying gun violence “hotspots” across the city and to “coordinate efforts between police and violence prevention group,” according to ABC7.
“The best way to reduce violence is to prevent it from happening,” Chicago police superintendent David Brown said Friday. “We will be targeting criminal networks that are the pipeline to violence in this city over this 4th of July weekend.”
“I will also have officers on foot patrols across our neighborhoods including the walking beat to get to know their neighborhood and residents and protecting them so they can celebrate safely,” Brown added.
It does not appear the efforts were enough to curb the shooting.
Chicago’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, seemed at a loss for words Sunday.
“Tonight, a 7-year-old girl in Austin joined a list of teenagers and children whose hopes and dreams were ended by the barrel of a gun,” Lightfoot said on social media. “We cannot grow numb to this. We are making progress in slowing shootings, but we have to do better, every single one of us.”
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