CHICAGO — Newly-formed Chicago police council on Thursday weighed in on its first case, the shooting and wounding of two boys at the Garfield Park Library two days prior.

A coalition of change-makers, including members of newly formed police district councils, alongside groups working to address violence in Garfield Park and surrounding communities, stood in unison outside the Henry E. Legler Regional Branch of the Chicago Public Library. 

Alees Edwards, an 11th police district council member, lamented Tuesday’s double shooting.

“This will not be our normal,” Edwards said. “We don’t want to get used to these sorts of scenarios.”

On Tuesday, May 16, around 5:30 p.m., a 16-year-old and a 12-year-old were shot outside the library on the 100 block of N. Pulaski Road.  

Darnell Weatherspoon is the grandfather of Damarion, the 12-year-old shooting victim who was shot in the back.

“I feel that kids right now don’t have a chance to grow up. If you can’t go to the library, you can’t go nowhere,” Weatherspoon said.

Family members say the sixth-grade, straight-A student who attends Melody Elementary School near the library came outside to have a snack when the gunfire hit him. The boy’s uncle, Darnell Weatherspoon Jr., says he had the strength to call his grandmother right after he was injured. 

“My mom was really just trying to keep him calm but he was calm too,” he said.

Lacreshia Birts, a member of several local organizations, including UMedics, says one of her peers trained in gunshot response was at the library Tuesday and helped Damarion. 

“There are so many gun incidents in Chicago and unfortunately, there are not always people who know what to do in that moment,” Birts said.

Community leaders say reducing ongoing violence in their underinvested community will take constant teamwork. 

“If you’re creative in any way, shape, or form, we want you to support us with that so that we can create a safer place for our community,” Edwards said.  

For Birts, the passion project, she hopes, will make for positive change and growth among Chicago’s youth. Still, Darnell Weatherspoon Jr. worries about the lasting effects of gun violence involving juveniles.

“We’re just really concerned about how he’s going to be afterward,” said Weatherspoon about Damarion, who has already undergone surgery and is currently recuperating at the hospital.