CHICAGO (CBS) – U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) has a Congressional office in the most violent police beat in the city, but he emphasizes that has not decided whether to move his office in the wake of the shootings in Tucson.
In the wake of the shooting this past Saturday, which killed six people and critically wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Rush has received many queries about his safety.
On Tuesday, Rush said he was considering moving out of his office at 700-706 E. 79th St. The office is located in Chicago Police Beat 624 in the Gresham District, which was recently named the “most violent” police beat in the city, Rush’s office said.
The area near 79th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue is known for deadly shootings, criminal assaults, robberies and gang and drug activity, Rush’s office said.
It is also not far from the locations where two Chicago Police officers were shot and killed in the past year. Officer Thomas Wortham IV was shot and killed in May less than a mile away in the 8400 block of South King Drive, and Officer Michael Bailey was shot and killed just a few blocks away at 74th Street and Evans Avenue in July.
Rush told CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker Tuesday that moving out of the district is “an option that I will entertain, but it’s not my primary option.”
But in a news release Wednesday, Rush emphasized that he has not made a final decision whether to close the office.
He said appropriate police resources need to be devoted to the area, and he wants to ensure any constituent who visits his district office is safe.
Rush told Tucker Tuesday that he has been thinking about the safety of his staff after the recent tragedy in Tucson, where six people died – Including a member of Giffords’ staff – and 13 others were wounded – including Gifford herself.
“The last time I was in D.C., they were under the desk because there was gunfire going on around them,” Rush said. “Being responsible, you have to take those things into consideration.”
Rush said that regardless of what he decides about moving the office, he wants his constituents to know that he’s not abandoning them.
“I’m in the fight to the end. I’m not a quitter,” Rush said.
Rush said that, as part of his continued efforts to fight violence, he’s holding a town hall meeting in Chatham on Friday.
Also this week, Rush’s fellow congressman, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Chicago) has called for more federal spending on security for members of Congress.
Jackson is proposing legislation that would increase the budget of each congressman and senator for security by 10 percent.