14 hurt, 1 dead in overnight shootings

March 19, 2010 4:58:23 PM PDT
During a violent night in Chicago, 15 people were shot during a six hour period at different locations throughout the city. Six of the shooting victims are Chicago Public School students.

Fourteen people were wounded and one person was killed in the violence.

The rash of shootings started Thursday evening around 5:30 p.m. By 11 p.m., 15 people had been shot within six hours at eight locations around the city.

A 22-year-old man was shot and killed on West Chicago near Lockwood. Police say the victim was involved in some type of argument with the gunman, who remains at large. Investigators suspect that deadly shooting may be gang related.

In the South Austin neighborhood, gunfire wounded a 14-year-old boy. A 21-year-old and an 18-year-old man were also hit, as was a woman. They were in front of a home in the 5500-block of West Iowa when a gunman opened fire. The 14- and 18-year-olds are in critical condition. No one is in custody.

And in the Englewood neighborhood, a shooter in a passing car wounded four men in the area around 78th and Loomis and 76th and Bishop. The gunfire left a 31-year-old man in critical condition. Two other people were shot a couple blocks away. No one is in custody. Police suspect the drive-by shootings are gang related.

The night of violence follows the beating and murder of 28-year-old Jason Perkins on March 17.

Two generations of the Perkins family spilled out onto their stoop Friday, grateful for safety in numbers. Their home is a prison of sorts. They are penned inside, despite the mild weather, by violence that has now claimed one of their own.

"We're devastated. We've never had anything like this happen before and we are all trying to cope," said Darnez Perkins, shooting victim's brother.

There are no suspects in the death of Jason Perkins, a father of three who was studying to be an electrician. He stayed with his mother on the South Side and was running an errand for her at a store when he was beaten up and shot at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Solving the crime, his family feels, is key to stopping a summer of violence from taking hold in the city.

"We, as a community, need to root out these people, this cancer in our community. If we sit by and don't say anything when things like this happen, what can you say?" said Perkins.

Anti-violence leaders symapthize. And CeaseFire's Tio Hardeman says with the advent of spring individuals will act out. The 15 shootings, he says, aren't so much about gangs but people with nothing settling scores from over the winter.

"Sometimes people don't see the people they are in conflict with in the wintertime and when spring comes around, they see the guy walking down the street, they see a guy in an area he shouldn't be in and aggress on that individual," said Hardeman. "A lot of people get into petty conflicts once again and they don't know how to really deal with it without shooting somebody or trying to work the situation out. Nobody wants to lose face."

The violence continued Thursday afternoon with two more people shot in the 7800-block of South Sangamon near St. Sabina Catholic Church.

"We can't have enough police officers or National Guard on every block. So the communities have to say,'enough, enough of the shooting, enough of the killing,'" said Fr. Michael Pfleger, St. Sabina Catholic Church.

Pleger, a well-known community activist and anti-violence crusader, thinks gun play has gotten to a whole new level.

"When we decide as a community to say, 'no more, we will turn you in. You will not be able to shoot and go back home and have McDonalds,' when that mentality steps up, we will see a stop to it," said Fr. Pfleger.

The Perkins family is pleading to stop the violence.

"We are burying our brother. We are burying our brother and we shouldn't be burying him," said Mickan Perkins, victim's sister-in-law.