CHICAGO (CBS) — The Archdiocese of Chicago has a new ally in the effort to prevent violence — Philip Andrew, a former FBI special agent, and a victim of one of the first school shooting sprees in the country.
His official title will be Director of Violence Prevention for the Chicago Archdiocese. It is a newly created position, and appears to be a natural fit for Andrew.
“You know, it didn’t take a lot of convincing,” Andrew told CBS 2’s Jim Williams when asked how he was convinced to take on this role. “I’d like to think that in the FBI, we were doing violence prevention, and this is an opportunity now to reach even farther upstream and address some of the root causes.”
Andrew answered the call from Cardinal Blase Cupich, who’s vowed to step up the church’s effort to address the mayhem on Chicago’s streets.
30 years ago, Andrew was shot in the chest by a mentally ill woman, Laurie Dann. He was home from college when Dann stormed into his family’s kitchen. She had just come from shooting six children at a Winnetka grade school, killing an 8-year-old.
“I hadn’t made any move for the gun; she turned and shot me,” Andrew previously said. “I couldn’t believe I was trying to help someone who had shot five people — six people two blocks from my house.”
Andrew understands the trauma of gun violence firsthand, saying, “I think for many victims of violence and survivors, seeing that it continues, compounds the trauma. But I think it also creates a resolve that we need to do more.”
A resolve forged by Andrew’s faith, personal tragedy and professional expertise.
“We need to be closer and we need to get with the people that are suffering from trauma,” he added.
He says he’s looking closely at programs the Archdiocese already offers and trying to identify “gaps where maybe people are slipping through.” He may decide to expand other anti-violence efforts.
Among his jobs in 20 years with the FBI, Andrew was a crisis negotiator for 16 years.