CHICAGO — COVID-19, stay-at-home orders and severe weather have not been enough to keep people inside and gun violence down.
A shooting early Monday injured a 15-year-old girl. Police said she was grazed in the leg while standing on a porch in the 12000 block of South Wallace Street. It’s among the latest shootings that’s turned the Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago into one of the deadliest in recent years. At least nine people have been killed and 36 shot.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Saturday was the deadliest day in Chicago with five people killed and 17 wounded.
Chris Patterson is the senior director of program and policy for the Institute for Non-Violence. Patterson appeared with new CPD Supt. David Brown Friday as they outlined plans to tamp down on Memorial Day weekend violence.
“I am surprised because I know there’s a lot of hard work going into making sure that this is a safe Memorial Day,” Patterson said Monday.
Despite the work of the Summer Operations Center, the city as a whole is seeing an uptick in shootings. But Patterson said in the Austin, West Garfield Park and Back of the Yards neighborhood where his group is working, shootings are down so far. However, they are seeing a lot of group gatherings.
“Just yesterday we had a conflict, a large group gathering,” he said. “Law enforcement approached the scene and we had an opportunity to talk to the young people instead of them getting citations or potentially going to jail.”
Patterson said they do this by leveraging relationships they’ve built in the community through their street outreach workers, all of which have lived experiences with violence.
“The vast majority of people who are trapped in a cycle of violence want the violence to end as well,” he said.
Patterson said the Institute for Non-Violence is also using this time to educate people about the dangers of COVID-19 and the need to physically distance from others, but they are finding many young people believe they are overly resilient.
“In an unrealistic way, right they’re feeling like if we can live through the trauma that we’ve been experiencing for all these years, there’s no way in the world COVID-19 is going to take us out,” he said.
No arrests have been made in any of the murders. At least four people have been arrested this weekend for having guns while at large gatherings.