CHICAGO (CBS) — One Chicago block in North Lawndale was trying to make sense Monday of nearly a minute of rapid gunfire that left eight people shot over the weekend.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams took a close look Monday at the mark those 46 seconds left on the families living near 18th Street and Kildare Avenue.
Earlier in the day, Anthony Guglielmi, the chief spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, took the unusual step of releasing audio from the shooting – which left one person dead and seven others injured.
Below is the sound that Chicago needs to change its ways on how we handle gun offenders. Audio from the tragic shooting at 18th & Kildare yesterday shows that criminals have no deterrent to carrying illegal guns in our city and this is what residents and police are up against. pic.twitter.com/VwixZwR0Vb
— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) August 5, 2019
While everyone has now had the opportunity to hear the recording, Leonard Hunt lived it.
“That’s how it sounded, too,” Hunt said.
So did Donna Blizzard.
“That’s it. That’s it. That’s it,” Blizzard said as she heard the recording of the gunfire. “Yep, just like that.”
Blizzard has lived in the 1800 block of South Kildare Avenue for 55 years. It is not the neighborhood of her youth.
“The neighborhood was beautiful. I mean, could sleep outside on your porches if you want to. It was beautiful,” she said. “Now you got to go and hide. Your kids can’t come outside and play. I’ve got grandkids. I don’t even let my kids out here.”
Guglielmi released nearly a minute of audio of the gunfire that forced people in the 1800 block of South Kildare Avenue to roll out of bed in the middle of the night.
The shots are too many to count.
“Ain’t words for it no more. I mean, it’s sad,” said neighbor Desiree Henderson. “It hurts my feelings.”
“It was like we were at war, like Vietnam,” Leonard Hunt added.
“When I heard the shots, I kind of like woke up out of my sleep and I just fell to the ground; made sure that all of the kids were okay,” said Sheila Hunt.
Eight people were struck in the shooting around 3:45 a.m., when unknown shooters opened fire on a large group of people at a block party. One man, 33-year-old Demetrius Flowers, was killed.
“And then to come out and just see everybody like going crazy like that… it was real upsetting to me,” Sheila Hunt said.
On the block, there are children, and parents with deep-running fear for them.
“It’s horrible. It’s horrible,” said Sheila Hunt. “It’s sad that we even have to live like this, because our kids can’t even come outside and play.”
A number of people on the block would only talk to CBS 2 off camera – including one young man who is the father of two children, ages 2 and 7.
He said: “I hate it here. I want out.”
On Monday, neighbors swept up the shell casings and looked at bills they had not anticipated. In addition to the trauma and the bloodshed, there is the added expense of what people have to pay for after the gunfire.
The bullets shattered Diane Blizzard’s windshield.
“I had to take it up to the glass shop to have it fixed – over $500,” Diane Blizzard said.
She noted that it was an expense that people don’t think about – and that she didn’t have.
The women on the block debated – weary resignation or defiance?
“We just lived it,” Henderson said of the traumatizing experience, “but we’re not going to live it no more.”
Still, everyone on the block whom CBS 2’s Williams talked to feels struck. Money is tight. Sheila Hunt cleans buildings downtown. Her husband Leonard parks cars at a hospital.
They cannot afford to move.
“I barely can afford it right here,” Leonard Hunt said.
And so they stay on the block, and stay inside at night.
“I’m trying to move to Mississippi. If I could move to Mississippi, I would be a whole lot better off,” Sheila Hunt said, “because this is ridiculous.”
Near 18th and Kildare this year alone, there have been three assaults, four batteries, one sexual assault, and five robberies – and now a mass shooting.
Meanwhile, the shooting at 18th and Kildare was one of three shootings with multiple victims in North Lawndale on Saturday night into Sunday morning.
Earlier Sunday morning around 1:20 a.m., police got a call for a mass shooting at Roosevelt Road and Francisco Avenue in Douglas Park.
Police said the victims were standing in the park when someone in black Camaro pulled up and started shooting.
A total of seven people were shot, four men and three women. The victims are between 19 and 25 years old.
At 2 a.m., two women were shot in the 1200 block of South Troy Street in the North Lawndale neighborhood, police Supt. Eddie Johnson said Sunday. The women suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and police were working to find out more details about what happened.
In all over the weekend, at least seven people were killed and 46 were wounded in weekend shootings across Chicago.
Earlier Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said it’s unfortunate that there seems to be a mass shooting virtually every weekend in Chicago.
“As a city, we have to stand up and do a hell of a lot more than we’ve done in a very long time,” she said.
Noting she’d visited the West Side just a day before the two mass shootings this weekend, the mayor lamented that there are parts of the West Side where open drug trades have completely taken over some public spaces; leaving children to witness drug dealing in their neighborhoods, and seniors afraid to leave their homes.
“The West Side is rich in texture and culture, but there are areas of the West Side – and that’s the places where I spent a lot of my time on Saturday – that are just desperate,” she said. “It’s shameful, and I can’t say that the things that I saw on Saturday are things that I even have the capacity to process yet. I left this area on Saturday night feeling devastated and heartbroken, but also determined to make a difference in the lives of the people here on the West Side.”
Lightfoot said addressing the problem is not a policing issue alone, noting hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent by law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal level, and “we have barely moved the needle.”