Residents call for peace after more gun violence

April 17, 2010 8:20:58 PM PDT
Chicago residents were calling for peace Saturday as they searched for solutions after multiple shootings occurred over the last several days.Many of the victims have been teenagers and young adults.

Since Thursday night, Chicago police say at least 32 people have been shot. Out of all those gunfire victims, at least eight people have died.

Rev. Jesse Jackson and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley talked Saturday about the ongoing problem and how it could be solved.

A sunny spring Saturday on one block in the Roseland neighborhood was interrupted by gunfire. A 28-year-old man is in critical condition and a 27-year-old woman is in stable condition. That woman's aunt stared at the crime scene in anger later in day and expressed concern for the rash of deadly violence in the city.

"It's the officials in office. They are not doing anything. They collect our tax money. They do what they want to do, not what we need," said aunt Regina McKinney. "Safety."

The latest round of gun violence comes after Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis himself spent Friday night on patrol with officers of the city's hot spots. In one of the shootings the victims ended up at South Shore Hospital.

The victims drove themselves the two miles from the location where they were shot to South Shore Hospital's emergency room.

A 19-year-old man and a 17-year old girl say they were sitting in the vehicle in the 8000 block of S. Brandon when they were shot around nine o'clock Friday night. Neither of them can say where the shots came from, but both sustained graze wounds to the head.

In another shooting 38-year-old Maurice Stone died after being shot multiple times in the head in what police say appears to have been a set-up. That incidnet happened in the 900 block of E. 81st Street.

Weis is expected to unveil a detailed crime-fighting plan next week. Both Weis and Mayor Daley say they need to break 'the code of silence' among witnesses so that shooters know they will get caught.

The mayor says he is happy with the police response.

"What can they do? If you shoot somebody, they come to it. They ask the victim; they say, 'I don't know who did it.' They ask the community; they say, 'I don't know who did it.' They can't rouse them out of their house and on the street," Daley said.

"It is up to people to take responsibility. We can blame the Chicago police all you want, but look at the mirror and say, 'What are you doing?'" Mayor Daley said.

"Most of the killings have gang affiliations. In several incidents either the victims or witnesses refused to cooperate. Once again, the code of silence only helps the offenders," Supt. Weis said.

Reverend Jackson at RainbowPUSH Coalition headquarters Saturday morning said the answer is to keep young people occupied with activities, jobs and values.

"Stop the flow of guns, drugs. We need job training and supervision," Jackson said.

"Wherever crime exists, those who know must expose it," Jackson also said.

By his side stood the aunt of a shooting victim from Thursday night. Anthony Branch Jr., 16, who is involved with RainbowPUSH, was playing basketball on a court in Cole Park in the Chatham neighborhood when, his aunt says, random gunfire hit Branch in the leg.

He was in critical condition Saturday.

"Right now, I don't know what the answer is," aunt April Branch said. "I'm trying to find it."

"His mother actually hesitated because you fear for your children. And she said okay; it was a nice day. He was with his friends who we knew and trusted. And those are good young men," said Branch.

At Saturday's crime scene, witness Sherman Stewart said his children would not be visiting their grandmother anymore.

"The kids had to duck. I had to throw my baby on the floor and lay on top of them," he told ABC7 Chicago.

Both Mayor Daley and Reverend Jackson echoed concern Saturday over the accessibility of guns and say that there should be a federal ban on all assault weapons.

Some community leaders say they might be heading down to Springfield to lobby for more state gun control, although the city of Chicago already has some of the toughest gun control laws.

Jackson visited the ABC7 studio Saturday to talk about what the Rainbow PUSH Coalition is doing to help Chicago address the gun violence. The complete interview is available for viewing above.

As of Saturday evening, police said they did not have any suspects in custody for any of the shootings.


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