CHICAGO (CBS) — We’ve come to expect the violent holiday weekend in Chicago. Labor Day was no exception. But there was relative peace for the first couple of days.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports some believe gang members were convinced to temporarily put down their weapons.
Long time community activist Daryl Bell says the call went out from older gang leaders to the young members to keep the peace this past holiday weekend.
“No matter what your brief is, you better not kill nobody. You better not shoot nobody,” Bell said younger gang members were told. “This is the conversation.”
Phillip Jackson of the Black Star Project led what they called the “Peace Surge,” which included volunteers making direct contact with young men. He’s reluctant to call any of them gang members.
“We encouraged young people to put aside weapons, to put aside violence and we told those young people, you know what, you can help us change your community, Jackson said.”
It was a promising beginning. But starting Sunday night through Labor Day, the violence jumped.
The tally for the entire weekend totalled 65 shot, 13 fatally.
That relative peace could not be sustained.
“…nobody’s had a conversation like that with these guys – actually sat everybody down and said ‘if we can do it for one day – we can do this all the time.'”
Jackson insists his group tried to maintain momentum.
“We were telling people ‘stay engaged, get out there.’ We kept telling people – ‘this is not over.'”
A Chicago police spokesman said he had not hear of a gang truce over the weekend, however he acknowledged the efforts of the Peace Surge.
Police and community activists attribute the late-Labor Day Weekend violence to retaliations and interpersonal disputes.