CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s only January and Chicago has already lost nearly 50 people to murder.
On Sunday, a retired carpenter who has made crosses for victims of mass killings set up a solemn memorial in Englewood for the victims of violent crime in Chicago in 2017.
Greg Zanis unloaded the 43 crosses from the back of his pickup truck at a vacant lot near 56th and Bishop. One by one, each was placed in rows as the victims’ names were read out loud.
“What we’re doing here is we’re establishing a permanent location for all of the crosses put up for 2017,” Zanis said.
Pastor Dan Haas, of Aurora, joined the memorial, praying over the crosses; which bear the names of the victims, their date of death, and some photos.
“The purpose of our gathering is to pray for families, pray for the victims. We want to pray for the neighborhoods. We want to pray for the city of Chicago,” Haas said.
Another prayer vigil has been planned for February.
Zanis also has created crosses for the victims of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, the Boston marathon bombing, and the Orlando nightclub shooting.
He said he plans to continue placing a cross for every murder victim in Chicago in 2017. He also made crosses for every homicide victim in Chicago last year, and the crosses were featured in a peace march along Michigan Avenue on New Year’s Eve.