7 Dead, 24 Others Wounded In Weekend Violence
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UPDATED 08/26/12 – 10:19 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — It has been a terrifying and deadly weekend in Chicago, with at least seven people dead and at least 24 more wounded in shootings since Friday afternoon.
And as CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, as the death toll rises, demands for answers from community activists are growing.
Speaking from an unrelated event at 57th and Carpenter streets in the Englewood neighborhood, police Supt. Garry McCarthy emphasized that the big picture is not represented by violence in a few specific areas.
“As we work on these issues in those very specific neighborhoods, the rest of the city is functioning s it normally would be. The rest of the city is safe, and we’re not going to give up until we ensure that everybody’s safe here in the Englewood District, where we’ve got a very significant reduction in the murder rate this year,” McCarthy said.
But one of the deadly shootings happened just a few blocks from President Barack Obama’s Chicago home.
“Three blocks over, that’s it. Three blocks. He’s right there,” said Freeman Richmond, who lives on the next block on Drexel Boulevard.
In the shooting, a young man was sitting in his car with his girlfriend, when he lost his life to an armed robber.
Stephin Williams and his girlfriend were in their car around 2:30 a.m. in the 4900 block of South Drexel Boulevard, in the Kenwood neighborhood about three blocks northwest of Obama’s Chicago home on Greenwood Avenue. Two men walked up with a handgun and announced a robbery, police said.
When Williams attempted to fight, one of the males shot him multiple times.
Williams, 23, of the 4000 block of South Lake Park Avenue, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:10 a.m., according to Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
Richmond was driving home when he saw police swarming to the scene.
“When I came around the block, the kid was laying face down right there. He wasn’t moving,” Richmond told CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli. “I paused for a minute and looked at him, and they finally picked him up and put him in the ambulance, and I drove on away.”
Even with the proximity to the heavily-guarded presidential residence, violence is not new to the area, Richmond said.
“I live right up the street. This is not the first time this neighborhood has been violated with gunfire. It keeps continuing,” he said.
Richmond is a Vietnam veteran, and he finds the violence and heavy-duty weapons being used in his neighborhood highly disturbing.
“It kind of brings back memories of death in Vietnam, but here, the level of violence is getting to an extent that it seems like a war zone, you know?” he said. “People having automatic weapons and clips that hold 16 rounds — I think in America, it’s ridiculous.”
And he believes that the Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police are doing all they can.
“I don’t have anything against the mayor and the police; I think they do a good job. That’s not the problem. I think the community needs to do a little bit more policing of their kids. I think that’s more important.”
The shooting that killed Williams was one of five deadly incidents in less than 24 hours between Friday and Saturday afternoons.
At 5:42 p.m. Friday, Lucian Dreux, 17, was shot and killed in the 7900 block of South Drexel Avenue, in the East Chatham neighborhood.
Dreux and a 42-year-old woman were standing outside when someone riding a mountain bike opened fire.
Bullets hit the boy in the face and abdomen, police said, and the woman suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh.
Dreux, who lived a couple of blocks away in the 8000 block of South Ingleside Avenue, was initially taken in critical condition to Stroger Hospital of Cook County, where doctors pronounced him dead at 6:25 p.m., authorities said.
The woman was taken in good condition to Stroger Hospital, police said.
Police said the motive for the shooting remained unclear Friday night, as witnesses were uncooperative with Area South detectives.
Around the same time, Noah Cruz, 30, was shot in the chest in the 3000 block of South Wallace Street, in the Bridgeport neighborhood.
Cruz, of the 800 block of West 31st Street, was taken in critical condition to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m., according to police and the medical examiner’s office.
Later Friday night, a 34-year-old man died after he was shot twice in the back near his home in the South Side’s West Chesterfield neighborhood, police said.
Phillip McCall, of the 200 block of East 89th Street, was gunned down around 8 p.m. Friday in the 8800 block of South Indiana Avenue, authorities said. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he died at 8:48 p.m.
And in broad daylight Saturday afternoon, one person was killed and two others were wounded in the 7900 block of South St. Lawrence Avenue in the Grand Crossing neighborhood.
The victims were a 17-year-old girl who was shot in the back, an 18-year-old man who was shot in the leg, and a 20-year-old man, who was dead on the scene, according to police News Affairs Officer Daniel O’Brien.
The 18-year-old, identified as Aaron Gaithan, was later pronounced dead at Northwestern Hospital.
The most recent fatal shooting was early Sunday in the Calumet Heights neighborhood on the South Side.
Rashad Pratt, 28, was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds inside a vehicle near 91st Street and East End Avenue.
Pratt, of the 9000 block of South Ridgeland Avenue, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A total of 24 people were wounded in shootings since Friday evening. One of the youngest victims reported by police was a 15-year-old girl, who suffered a gunshot wound to the chest Friday night as she smoked marijuana in the Roseland neighborhood on the Far South Side.
The girl and a teenage boy were hanging out in the 0 to 100 block of West 112th Street when the boy moved a gun and it fired, police said. Paramedics took the girl to the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition, authorities said.
Police said the shooting appeared to be accidental.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.