CHICAGO (CBS) — Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said a bloody holiday weekend that saw at least eight people shot and killed and dozens others wounded “doesn’t wipe out” reductions in violent crime in the past two years.
Since Friday evening, at least eight people were shot and killed in Chicago, and at least 44 others were wounded, police said
“This doesn’t wipe out what has happened over the last two years, and this is a conversation that we’ve had time and time again,” Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday morning. “There’s no magic formula here. We have a plan, we have a strategy, and it’s hard work. That’s what it is. … It’s a day-by-day, minute-by-minute grind, and we’re into busy season. That’s what it is.”
Although murders in Chicago spiked to 516 in 2012 – only the second time homicides surpassed 500 since 2003 – they dropped to 415 last year, the lowest murder total for Chicago in nearly 50 years.
The superintendent said the vast majority of shootings in Chicago are gang-related, and detectives were working to determine “which of the hot conflicts” were to blame for the most recent spate of violence.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said addressing the violence isn’t just about what the police do but what the schools, community groups and parents do to instill values in their children.
“You can’t do this just by discussing how many police we have and counting heads. You can’t do this by figuring out many kids are in after school. We have to do all of that and more and we all know we have tough budgets,” said Emanuel.
Among those killed were two men who were slain Sunday afternoon in the South Lawndale neighborhood. The victims were sitting in a Lincoln Navigator near the corner of 28th Street and Sawyer Avenue around 1 p.m., when an orange Hummer blocked their path. Two people wearing masks and armed with guns exited the Hummer, and sprayed the Navigator with nearly a dozen bullets, right near a police “blue light” camera.
Two men — 32-year-old Juan Ocon, and 19-year-old Timmy Bermudez — were shot and killed.
The Hummer fled south on Sawyer Avenue after the shooting. The Navigator also drove off, but was found a short time later at the corner of 24th Street and Kedzie Avenue, police said. Ocon was pronounced dead at the scene. Bermudez died less than an hour later at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Earlier Sunday, a married couple, both law enforcement officers, were killed in an apparent murder-suicide at their home on the Southwest Side. Authorities said Cook County corrections Officer Javier Acevedo, 50, shot and killed his wife, 49-year-old Chicago police officer Veronica Acevedo, at their home in the 5300 block of South Austin Avenue.
Veronica Acevedo was an 18-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, and had won 23 commendations during her career. Javier Acevedo was a 25-year veteran of the Cook County Sheriff’s Department.
Also killed over the weekend were two teens found dead around 10:30 a.m. Saturday in an apartment building in the 8200 block of South Houston Avenue. Jordan Means, 16, and Anthony Bankhead, 18, both had been shot in the head. Means’ mother said the boys were killed over a dispute that played out on Facebook.
“An argument led to this, that’s crazy,” said Camille Cochran, 42. “Now, I don’t have my son no more.”
The other victims of fatal shootings over the weekend included 4e-year-old Darren Rey, who was killed Saturday morning in an alley in the 2900 block of West Flournoy; 19-year-old Nicholas Ramirez, who was killed early Saturday in the 1600 block of West Hubbard Street, after someone in another vehicle shot him during a chase; and 20-year-old Trevolous Pickett, who was killed Friday night in a gangway in the 5200 block of West Congress Parkway.
Eugene Andrews, 37, has been charged in connection with the murder of Darren Rey.
It was the second weekend in a row at least 36 people were shot in Chicago.
Asked how a spike in gun violence affects his department’s approach to fighting violent crime, McCarthy said “we can do things to improve what’s happening, but until such time as we get some help with the gun laws in the state of Illinois, we’re up against it. We’re drinking from a firehose.”
McCarthy repeatedly has urged state lawmakers to enact mandatory minimum sentences for repeat gun offenders. He has said “lax state and federal gun laws” hamper the department’s ability to reduce gun violence, by allowing repeat offenders to stay on the streets.
Last year, the Emanuel administration backed a proposal to raise the mandatory minimum sentence for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon from one to three years, and require offenders to serve 85 percent of their sentences — a “truth in sentencing” provision.
In November, sponsors removed language that would impose the new mandatory minimum on first-time offenders, but the measure was sent back to committee in December, and has yet to move forward since.
–The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.