Chicago, IL – Chicago continued to break records for gun violence over the holiday weekend with 17 people killed – including a seven-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy – and 70 more wounded by gunfire.
Despite an extra 1,200 Chicago police officers having been deployed to the streets ahead of the 4th of July holiday, it was the bloodiest weekend the city has seen since Memorial Day weekend in 2015, the Associated Press reported.
Between 6 p.m. on Thursday and midnight on Sunday, 13 juveniles were shot – two of them fatally.
Police said seven-year-old Natalie Wallace was at a July 4th party on the sidewalk in front of her grandmother’s house in Austin on the city’s West Side on Saturday, the Associated Press reported.
A car pulled up at about 7 p.m. and suspects got out of it and opened fire on the crowd at the party.
Police said the gunmen fired more than 20 shots, WLS reported.
Natalie was shot in the head, according to the Associated Press.
She was transported to Stroger Hospital where she died, WLS reported.
Chicago PD said a suspect was in custody for that shooting but did not release any other details.
“To see my daughter on the table with a gunshot wound to the forehead, that will change somebody’s life,” the little girl’s father, Nathan Wallace, said at a press conference on Sunday, WLS reported.
“Something has to give in Chicago, and I pray that Lori Lightfoot and chief of police put something together to stop this,” Wallace said. “At the end of the day, our future is getting hurt.”
Varnado Jones, 14, was part of a group of eight people who were shot later that night in the 6100-block of South Carpenter Street in Englewood.
Chicago police said four men approached the group and opened fire, WLS reported.
Jones was struck in the back and died at Comer Children’s Hospital.
Statistics showed it has been a particularly deadly year for children in Chicago, the Associated Press reported.
There have been 32 juveniles murdered in the city this year, as compared to only 20 during the same period in 2019.
There have been 1,782 shootings in Chicago so far in 2020, up 550 from the same period last year, the Associated Press reported.
The city’s homicide rate for 2020 is 353 so far, up 99 from the same six-month period last year.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown called for changes to halt the violence during a press conference on Monday, WLS reported.
“We must keep violent offenders in jail longer. We must,” Superintendent Brown said. “We should revamp the electronic monitoring program. The electronic monitoring program, it’s clearly not working. We will not stop until this violence ends.”
The superintendent called for the community to help find the gunmen, WLS reported.
“It’s this constant gang-on-gang violence where they’re targeting an individual,” he explained. “There is usually zero cooperation between these gangs because they just wanna go back and exact their revenge the next time around, which what caused the death of these two children.”
“I know that there’s people out there that may know these individuals who are part of these gangs. That information has to be funneled to the detectives. It’s the only way these cases are gonna progress,” Superintendent Brown added.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has traditionally blamed police for violent episodes in the city, was for once in lockstep with the police superintendent, WLS reported.
“Thoughts and prayers are simply not enough at this point,” Lightfoot said. “Sorrow itself is not enough and what it says is we need to do better as a city, this day, this year and really every day. There is no reason we should be feeling and experiencing moments like this.”
The weekend before the 4th of July, 102 people were shot in Chicago and 14 were killed, including a toddler.
And 85 people were shot over Memorial Day weekend, with 24 fatalities.