6 killed in weekend violence

August 3, 2010 12:10:27 PM PDT
A violent weekend has triggered a renewed call to stop the violence in the city of Chicago.

Six people were killed over the weekend in 21 shootings.

Chicago's top cop says despite the perception that Chicago streets are getting more dangerous, statistics show the number of homicides has actually dropped a bit.

On Monday night, a large group of ministers gathered on the street where 13-year-old Robert Freeman was killed last week, becoming the latest murder victim in one of the city's violent neighborhoods.

"We come today declaring a state of emergency, people living under a siege of terror," said Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rainbow/Push Coalition

Annette Freeman can relate to the terror of losing a child to violence. Her 7-year-old son Dantrell Davis was shot and killed by a sniper in the Cabrini Green development nearly 18 years ago as she walked him to school.

"I live through this every day of my life. I can never not think about that moment. That' s a part of my past, that's a part of my heart," said Freeman.

It sparked such an outrage in the community that leaders called for a gang truce to stop the violence and it worked. Maurice Perkins was part of the group. He says there were no shootings in Cabrini Green for the next two years.

"When Dantrell was killed we were all embarrassed as black men that all humanity was just being lost," said Perkins," said Maurice Perkins, Inner City Youth Foundation.

"The black community as men stood up because they felt responsible," said Freeman.

The latest round of violence this summer has prompted a new group of religious leaders to step forward to call for a similar truce, calling it '28 Days of Peace.' It began Sunday. They say they hope it can mirror the success of the truce after the murder of Dantrell Davis.

"It intensifies the effort. It makes you realize, okay, you know what, we have to do more, we have to recruit more people of faith and good will involved," said Rev. Gregory Livingston, Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

While residents say violence is at an all-time high, Chicago officials say crime is down in the city.

Chicago police superintendent Jody Weis said Monday that all too often we get caught up in recent tragedies and lose perspective. There have been 257 homicides so far this year, three fewer than in 2009. In the month of July, there were 43. That compares to 57 last year. And the numbers have dropped dramatically from a high of 943 in 1992 to 460 last year.

"You go back to the 70s and the 90s we had some horrific years for homicides. Those numbers are significantly down. But again, we cannot be satisfied when we have over 400 homicides in a year. That is unacceptable," said Supt. Jody Weis, Chicago Police Department.

Weis said many of this weekend's shootings involved people with gang affiliations.


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