CPD Supt. Johnson blames ’empowered’ gangs for rise in violence after deadly holiday weekend

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CHICAGO — The shootings keep adding up in what is one of the most violent years in recent Chicago history.

Over what was a very  violent holiday weekend in Chicago, police say 11 people were killed and at least 30 others wounded in shootings across the city since Friday evening.

Included in that number are seven people – mostly from the same extended family – who were shot in the East Chatham neighborhood Sunday night. Police say people were gathered for a party on the porch of a home near 86th and South Maryland when a man wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt walked out from an alley and opened fire.

18-year-old James Gill was shot and pronounced dead at the scene, and 21-year-old Roy Gill was shot in the back and taken to Christ Medical Center where he died. Four men and one woman also suffered gunshot wounds. Two of the men are in critical condition. Community activist Jessica Disu is among those calling on someone to break the code of silence and turn in whoever is responsible for the shooting.

Superintendent Eddie Johnson reiterated a familiar theme during a press conference Monday, calling for the Illinois legislature to get tougher on gun crimes and give judges the power to hand down longer sentences, especially to repeat offenders. Johnson said most gun crimes in the city are committed by gang members.

“We have to take our communities back. We have to take it back non-violently and peacefully,” said community activist Jessica Disu. She co-founded the Chicago International Youth Peace Movement, and is a frequent critic of police, but Monday she took taking aim at others, too.

“We must hold our police accountable as well as community members who are perpetrating crimes accountable. Enough is enough,” Disu said.

Disu and activist Ja’mal Green both have blasted Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked superintendent Eddie Johnson, but they’re also demanding that someone break the code of silence and turn in whoever is responsible for the shooting that claimed the lives of James and Roy Gill.

Johnson also said crimes against police across the country have risen 300 percent this year, which he believes directly corresponds with the rise of gang and gun crimes.

“The anti-police rhetoric has emboldened and empowered these gang members to do what they do,” Johnson said. “You know when they feel public will speak out for them, and not the police officers, that’s giving them the power to go out and do what they do.”

Johnson said it’s still too early to say whether the shooting that killed the Gills was gang-related.

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