At least 30 wounded in weekend violence

April 20, 2008 9:47:20 PM PDT
Gun violence made it a deadly weekend on some of Chicago's streets. Police Superintendent Jody Weis places the blame on too many guns and gangs. The victims have ranged in age from 12 to 65.

The Chicago Police Department says it definitely has a plan. By ABC 7 News' count, six shootings were fatal over the weekend. CPD puts that number at four. Regardless of the number, after another weekend of gun violence, Chicago Police blame a rash of shootings on too many guns and the gangs that use the weapons illegally.

"You just have too many guns and too many gangs and too much drugs on the street," said Weis.

By at least one unofficial count, more than 30 people were either wounded or shot to death since Friday, including Marcus Hendricks, who was murdered allegedly at the hands of a former employee firing an AK-47 assault rifle.

Sunday, Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis called for more common sense gun legislation to help control the violence.

"Police are placing themselves in harm's way 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, confronted by AK-47s and other powerful weapons," Weis said.

The victims of this latest wave of gun violence includes innocents and gang members alike.

Sunday afternoon, 17-year- old Marcus Greer, the 24th Chicago Public Schools student this year to be killed by gunfire, was laid to rest, as the city geared up to combat the violence that claimed his life.

"It takes 24 students to get killed for some action to be taken ," said Harold Greer, victim's uncle.

Although the number of murders in Chicago have declined in recent years, based on population, the murder rate is higher in Chicago than in New York City or L.A. New York had 496 murders in 2007. Los Angeles had 349. Both L.A. and New York have significantly larger populations. So, proportionally speaking, Chicago has a homicide rate 3 times higher than New York and nearly 70 percent higher than L.A.

"I don't really like to compare different cities because we can find different ones that will have a greater murder rate per capita than Chicago has. I think we need to just focus on Chicago and do whatever we can to take the weapons off the street," said Weis.

Some victims' families say they wish the solution was that simple.

"It's really a broader problem. It's really an economic and political problem. It's too many people with hopelessness and despair in their lives. They don't value life," said Cynthia Flowers, relative of gun violence victim.

CPD says it intends to put more officers around schools and also in high-crime areas where they particularly believe there's a possibility of gang retaliation. They are also asking the community to continue to be involved-- especially parents, to make sure that they know where their children are.


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