Extra security in Back of the Yards after fatal shooting near church

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A police SWAT team provides security near a school ater an assault weapon was used to kill a 22-year old.

A police SWAT team provided added security near a Southwest Side school on Monday after an assault weapon was used to kill a 22-year-old in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood near a church.

The Cook County medical examiner identified the victim as Salvador Suarez, 22. Police said he was shot around 2 p.m. Sunday in the 1700-block of 46th Street just as church services were ending.

There is now growing concern in the neighborhood because assault weapons are increasingly being used by the gangs in Back of the Yards. But because they're so expensive, it's believed there are only one or two in use but the damage they're inflicting is terrifying community members.

Investigators are now trying to locate them before they can be used again.

"He got shot right there and it was during the day," Nazaria Santillances, a parent, said. "My baby could have been over here. I've got to get out of here."

A police department SWAT team was brought in Monday morning to ensure the safety of children arriving at Seward Elementary directly across the street from where 22-year-old Salvador Suarez was gunned down by a man using an assault rifle.

"No one should have to worry that someone is going to drive down the street and unload a clip with 40 bullets onto their block. It's unacceptable," Alderman Raymond Lopez, 15th Ward, said.

Alderman Lopez said this was the third shooting in less than a week that was perpetrated with an assault-style weapon in the neighborhood.

Last Wednesday, a three flat home was riddled with bullets. The intended target was not home at the time.

Police said Suarez was walking when a light-colored Saturn pulled up and someone started firing shots with an assault rifle.

Neighbors said they heard dozens of gunshots, as did the parishioners inside Holy Cross Catholic Church during Mass.

"It's in front of a church for God's sake. I mean when does it stop? I mean, how do we get help with this? What do we do?" Sharon Bolsega, a friend of the victim, said.

Police said there were dozens of empty shell cases on the street where the shooting happened.

"This is indicative of the level of violence that we see on a day-to-day basis," Chicago Police Chief Eugene Roy said.

Maria Alonso is a community representative at Hedges Elementary.

"I panic," Alonso said. "I panic every time they leave the house. I panic every time they're late."

Alonso, who also leads an organization called Mothers For Peace is part of an effort to find safe, affordable alternatives for neighborhood children now that summer break is upon us.

"A lot of parents can't afford to put their kids in programs because of how expensive they are so we're trying to look for places who offer, things that are free for them," Alonso said.

The Back of the Yards neighborhood council is also involved in the effort.

"We've got to make sure kids have a place to go. The parks, the schools, after-school activities. You shouldn't be afraid to go there and get there and come home from those places," Craig Chico, a member of the Back of the Yards neighborhood council, said.

A peace walk will be held in Back of the Yards Saturday morning starting at 51st and Elizabeth. Parents in the community are expected to come out in force.

The motive is still unclear but police say it could be gang-related and that there's no sign the church was targeted.

Police are still searching for the shooter.
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