McCarthy faces questions after weekend violence

March 20, 2012 5:02:20 AM PDT
After 46 people were shot last weekend, nine of them fatally, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy faced the media's version of a firing squad late Monday.

Why was the weekend so violent? What's he doing to stop it?

Those are questions being asked in every corner of the city tonight where the echoes of gunfire are still painful and plentiful.

It was a simple, sunny Saturday afternoon. A mother combing the hair of her six year-old daughter, when police say street gang members rolled up in a stolen pick-up and began shooting at rivals.

"I hugged her really tight wishing all those bullets would hit me but they didn't," said the victim's mother, Diana Aguilar. "They hit my poor baby."

Aliyah Shell was just one of nine people to lose their life to violence this weekend.

The year is young but already there have been 28 more murders this year compared to the same time last year and 112 more shootings.

"I'm not willing to chalk it up to voodoo or the weather, whether we reduce or not reduce crime," said Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy. "I'm sorry. I'm accountable for this and I'm not going to blame the weather is what this boils down to."

When there is trouble on the streets, it's tracked in this room. Officers track gang shootings and quickly push that information out to beat cops who try to diffuse retaliatory violence that is at the heart of Chicago's gang culture.

Tio Hardiman has worked to diffuse gang conflict for decades. He says it will take more than quick-acting cops, even ones armed with information, to solve the problem.

"Just like you and I get up every morning and go to work, these guys get up every morning and think of who they're going to shoot today," said Hardiman. "So if you don't work on the behavioral change it's going to be hard to just fix this over night."

McCarthy also plans to expand a successful program that holds many members of a gang, from foot soldiers to leaders, responsible for serious criminal conduct by fellow gang-bangers.

In the shooting of the 6-year-old, prosecutors have charged an 18- and a 16-year-old.