14-year-old dies after shooting

Anti-violence rally held after recent shootings
June 19, 2008 8:43:47 PM PDT
Community activists were rallying to stop gun violence in Chicago Thursday after three teens were shot to death this week. Jeremy Jones, 14, died Thursday night, a day after he was shot on the city's far South Side.

Fr. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church has been leading the fight against violence in the city of Chicago. He arrived at the Thompson Center Thursday morning with two bus loads of parishioners for the rally.

"We're killing our children. We have had three children shot in the last three days, two of them killed. We cannot become immune to this. We can't get used to violence in our community. We need legislators to pass gun laws, stop the easy access to guns," said Pfleger.

Ulysses Simmons, 14, was the first Chicago Public Schools student shot to death over summer break. According to his family, he was killed because of an argument over his bicycle.

Simmons was sitting on his bike Monday afternoon near 92nd and Langley Avenue talking to friends when a suspicious car pulled up. Police say two teens jumped out and started shooting.

Simmons -- who was a student at Beasley Elementary School -- died of a gunshot wound to the back early Tuesday morning.

Also on Tuesday, Juan Hernandez, 15, became the second CPS student to die from gunfire over summer break. He was walking down the street along the 2000-block of West 49th Street in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood when a gunman riding a bicycle started shooting at him.

Hernandez was hit several times and died later that night at Stroger Hospital. He had just graduated from Hedges Elementary School.

A memorial of candles and flowers marks the spot where Hernandez was gunned down.

On Wednesday afternoon in Chicago's West Pullman community, another recent eighth grade graduate, Jones, was shot by another gunman riding a bicycle.

He was walking down the street near 119th and South Perry with a friend when someone started shooting at them. Jones was critically injured and taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn where he later died.

Police have not made any arrests in the three shootings.

"The victims are getting younger. The perpetrators are getting younger. In every case, we're losing people. People are really being feared and frightened," said Rufus Williams, Chicago Public School Board President.

Pfleger called on legislators to pass common sense gun laws.

"Legislators, the blood is on their hands. You cannot continue to allow easy access to guns in this state and in this country. And guns are available to children all over the country every day," he said.

"When I get down to the General Assembly in Springfield, I'm going to support common sense gun legislation. I'm going to fight for more money for programs that give our children something productive to do," said Will Burns, candidate, Illinois 26th District

The government wasn't the only target of the rally. There were strong words for members of the community.

"I'm asking all the citizens of Chicago to be outraged. Don't look at us and say you're tired of marches and vigils. We're tired of death. We're tired of burying our children. We need it to stop now," said Annette Holt, shooting victim Blair Holt's mother.


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