CHICAGO (CBS) — Dantrell Davis was 7 years old when he was murdered in 1992 while walking to school in the Cabrini-Green public housing development.
Dantrell’s death sparked a gang truce. The murder of a child was even too much for the streets back then.
But 28 years later, children are being murdered while playing outside, or sitting in the house or the car.
CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar on Thursday examined what happened to the code where children were off limits.
“My son got killed in my face, you know? Standing on the side of me,” said Annette Freeman.
On Oct. 13, 1992, Freeman was walking her son Dantrell to Jenner Elementary School from their home in the development, when Anthony Garrett, perched up at the summit of the Cabrini-Green high-rise at 1157-59 N. Cleveland Ave., shot and killed the 7-year-old.
“I think of Danny every day,” Freeman said.
Dantrell’s killer later confessed that he was aiming for a rival gang member.
“When Danny died, I’m telling you – these Black kings, these Black men, they stood up, because they looked at Danny: ‘This is my son. This could be my nephew, my grandchild,” Freeman said.
Danny’s death sparked outrage. It led to the demolition of the Cabrini-Green projects, and even ignited a truce between gangs.
“That truce lasted for at least three, four years,” Freeman said.
Maurice Perkins helped facilitate that truce.
“Everybody was embarrassed,” said Perkins, of the Inner City Youth Foundation. “They cooperated. It was a thing to do at the time.”
Wallace “Gator” Bradley, a former Gangster Disciple, was also a facilitator. We met him as he got his shoes shined.
“The reason that it worked in the 90s is because everyone was a part of it,” Bradley said. “Kids, women, elderly were off limits. They didn’t touch them”
But with at least eight children under the age of 10 shot in the city in just two weeks, some are asking if that code still carries any weight.
Bradley caught up with some old friends on Calumet Avenue.
“There’s something that we’ve got to do,” Bradley told the group. “That 1-year-old got that killed.”
One-year-old Sincere Gaston was shot in the chest while he was in the back seat of his mother’s car in the 6000 block of South Halsted Street in Englewood on Saturday afternoon.
Bradley’s neighborhood conversations have focused on violence against children lately. He said the rule that children are off limits still applies.
“We as men got to put it down say that still exists and never left,” he told the group. “We all got a responsibility.”
“In one week, those babies dropped,” Freeman said. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to say.”
With every child shot recently, Freeman is forced to remember that October walk to school in 1992.
“People need to let these men stand up and take control again, because it worked!” she said. “There was no gangbanging or shooting.”
Perkins also said an effort to take control could work today.
“I know it could work today, and it could work in an even greater preponderance,” he said.
“How do we keep kids safe after Danny’s death?” Freeman said.
Dantrell’s killer was convicted and sentenced to 100 years in prison.
In recent weeks, addition to 1-year-old Sincere, a 3-year-old girl was shot in West Englewood in the chest Tuesday evening in the 7000 block of South Damen Avenue in West Englewood. The child was taken to the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital in critical condition, but had been stabilized by late Tuesday. She was wounded in her upper torso.
On Saturday, June 27, 10-year-old Lena Nunez was killed by a stray bullet that went through her grandmother’s apartment window in the 3500 block of West Dickens Avenue in Logan Square.
Also Saturday, police responded to another shooting more than an hour later in the West Englewood neighborhood where an 8-year-old girl was grazed in the head. Police say she was sitting on the couch at home near 66th and Wood streets when a stray bullet went through the window. She was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital in fair condition.
On Monday, June 22, a 3-year-old girl was grazed by a bullet in Chicago Lawn. The girl and a 33-year-old woman were outside a home at 6521 S. Claremont Ave. when someone in a tan vehicle fired shots from inside, police said. The girl was grazed by a bullet and taken to Comer Children’s Hospital in good condition. The woman was not shot.
On Saturday, June 20, 3-year-old Mekhi James was shot and killed while riding in an SUV with his stepfather on the 600 block of North Central Avenue. The 27-year-old stepfather, who police believed to be the target of the shooting, suffered a graze wound to the abdomen and drove to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park. Mekhi was pronounced dead at the same hospital.
On June 18, a 5-year-old boy was shot in the buttocks in the 700 block of West 50th Place in Back of the Yards and was taken to a local hospital. A 19-year-old man was also wounded in that shooting.
On June 17, a 9-year-old girl was among four people shot in the 1300 block of West 76th Street in Auburn Gresham. The girl was shot in the right leg and was reported in good condition at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital. Men ages 31, 25 and 19 were also wounded in that incident.
Police as of Thursday were still looking for the shooters in the latest cases involving kids.