CHICAGO (AP) — Several mass shootings in recent days have Chicago back in the national spotlight. Still, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is trying to reassure residents that she has a plan to curb gun violence.
Lightfoot’s declaration comes after five people standing outside on Chicago’s West Side were shot in a violent end to a day that began with a mass shooting on the city’s South Side that left four people dead and four more injured, police said.
Four men and one woman were shot about 9:20 p.m. Tuesday near Garfield Park, possibly “by multiple offenders,” police said. They were rushed to area hospitals, where a 38-year-old man was listed in critical condition while the others were listed in good condition.
The shooting came about 16 hours after three women and a man were fatally shot and four other people suffered gunshot wounds inside a house on the South Side.
Shermetria L. Williams, 19, of the suburb of Harvey, was among the dead, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said Wednesday. The office on Tuesday identified another victim as Ratanya Aryiel Rogers, 28, of Chicago. The names of the other two will be released after next of kin have been notified, the office said.
Police have not made any arrests in either shooting.
Tears fell down the face of community activist Donovan Price on Wednesday as he returned to South Morgan Street to honor the four lives lost in the Englewood shooting.
“This just really sunk through my heart as all the deaths do,” Price said.
Price placed four crosses for each of the shooting victims, saying, “I just felt that because of the situation and the people there, this needed to happen.”
“It affects everybody,” he added. “It affects the family in terms of healing. It affects those who drive by so they know ‘yes, this is where that happened.’ You know, that terrible event. It’s important because these are our people.”
For some, the violence in the Windy City doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. Instead, it’s left many to question city officials on their plans to keep residents safe. Lightfoot, in response, released a letter Wednesday that read, in part: “Our young people need a safe place to learn and have fun. Our communities need access to job opportunities, social services, and resources—especially as we emerge from the pandemic.”
The mayor also reminded residents about a transformative, all-city approach to violence prevention during the summer that would focus on 15 areas of the city facing the most crime.
City departments will also flood those areas with support for youth and families, the mayor added.
“We’ve seen far too many times what happens when our young people and their families don’t have access to opportunity within their own neighborhoods,” Lightfoot said in her letter to Chicagoans. “Disinvestment deepens. Cycles of poverty continue. And violent crimes increase.”
Chicago, which saw a dramatic spike in the number of homicides in 2020, is on a pace to eclipse that year’s total. Even before the latest shootings, according to the police department’s statistics, there were 282 homicides as of Sunday compared with 269 for the same period in 2020.
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