CHICAGO (CBS)–The family of a 15-year-old fatally shot on a Garfield Park basketball court this summer has channeled their grief into a ray of positivity for a neighborhood plagued by violent crime.
The violent death of a loved when can paralyze some people, but mourning turned into action for one Chicago family.
The family of shooting victim Kenwon Parker was instrumental in getting the city to install a camera at the Garfield Park Fieldhouse, where the teen was shot in August during an altercation involving hundreds of people that spilled out into the streets.
Chicago police charged a 13-year-old with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. No other charges have been filed. Police have not said if he is suspected of firing the shots that struck the two victims, but a homicide investigation is ongoing.
In the days that followed the shooting, the Westbrooks family was surprised to learn there were no exterior security cameras in the immediate area to help identify the shooter, so they lobbied local politicians to take action.
They held rallies and protests to get the city’s attention. During their fight for a camera, Parker’s friends and family joined forces with the citizen-based Garfield Park Advisory Council. The group of residents-turned-activists had been lobbying for cameras since 2015 when the dismembered body of a toddler was discovered in a lagoon inside the park.
That tragic discovery, coupled with Parker’s murder, eventually resonated with city officials.
The camera, installed Friday, is now trained on the park entrance near where Parker was gunned down.
It’s just another police surveillance system among the thousands in the City of Chicago, but to Keyoner Westbrooks it’s something more.
“It means we are definitely getting something done,” Westbrooks said. “My son shined–he was a star to me.”
A single camera may not seem like much in the city’s epic battle against gang violence, and officials in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred said more resources should be put into developing a more comprehensive surveillance system.
“People aren’t going to do things if they think they will be caught,” said Keith Kelley of the Garfield Park Advisory Council. “That camera out front is great, but it’s only a fraction of what we need,”
Much of Garfield Park remains undocumented by cameras, and the Westbrooks know their small victory marks only the beginning for change to take effect.
“It won’t bring my son back, but it will save somebody else’s life or at least get justice for the next person,” Westbrooks said.