CHICAGO – Another weekend of bloodshed among Chicago neighborhoods, which left at least 48 shot and five dead, has drawn the ire of CPD Superintendent David Brown, saying that the department and city must do more to curb the violence.
On Monday, Supt. Brown said: “one homicide is one too many.” The top Chicago officer also pointed to reasonings, he believes, are behind the rise in violence.
“We got here because of trauma and poverty and disinvestment and other issues that likely don’t have a policing solution,” Brown said.
Despite the violence-plagued weekend, more than a year into his position, Brown shared some positives.
“There’s more work to do in all areas of reducing crime, but we are making incremental progress in reducing the most violent crime that occurs,” he added.
The superintendent pushed “One Summer Chicago,” a job initiative to give young people in the city an alternative to life on the streets. But it’s a program too late for the family of one of the weekend’s youngest victims – a 13-year-old boy named Eric. The teen was shot in the head while riding his bike Sunday morning in McKinley Park. Family members tell WGN the boy is now on life support.
“Eric was a bright, loving, wonderful kid,” said Patricia Deates, Eric’s mother. “He was about to go into the 8th grade, so for these scumbags to do this to him…I want justice for my son.”
Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan revealed that the shooting may have been gang-retailation.
“Looks like a rival gang was following him and targeting him,” he said.
While CPD believes gang affiliations are behind the shooting, Eric’s mom told WGN that is not the case.
“He wasn’t a gangbanger,” she said. “He was a sweet, innocent child that didn’t deserve this. But the gangs have been trying to get him to join. Yes, they have. And I blame them. Every single one of them.
With summer looming, a potential for more violence must bring change, Brown warned.
“What we want to do is proceed with an all-hands approach,” said Brown, acknowledging that he is moving nine of the department’s district commanders from day time — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shifts to night time — 3 to 11 p.m.
“What that means is during peak hours, we need to be on point with our leadership,” Brown said. “Lead from the front so that the rank and file can model our behavior.”
Brown believes the move goes a long way in addressing the safety concerns of the public. One veteran CPD supervisor, however, called the shift “a morale killer,” telling WGN Investigates, on the condition of anonymity, in part, “It’s a slap in the face that will cause morale to decline in the most violent districts because the troops will follow their lead.”
The move isn’t much solace for families already impacted by gun violence.
“Babies, adults, there are so many shootings up here,” said Andrea Crawford, Eric’s aunt. “This is a war zone. The violence needs to stop.”
To help with medical expenses, Eric’s family has started a GoFundMe. Those who wish to donate may do so by clicking here.