Earlier this month I wrote about the deadliest day of violence in Chicago’s history, at least since records were kept starting in 1961. On Sunday May 31, 18 people were killed in the city. That capped a weekend in which 85 people were shot, 24 of whom died. While Chicago didn’t see as many deaths over Father’s Day weekend, there were actually more people shot this weekend.
Chicago saw its highest number of gun violence victims in a single weekend this year with 104 people shot across the city from Friday evening to Monday morning, 14 of them fatally. Five of those killed were minors.
The weekend saw more shooting victims but less fatalities than the last weekend of May, when 85 people were shot, 24 of them fatally — Chicago’s most deadly weekend in years.
Tragically, five of the 14 people killed this weekend were minors.
Two boys, 15 and 16, were walking in an alley at 12:18 a.m. in the 4700 block of West Superior Street when someone fired at them, possibly from a gray sedan, according to Chicago police. The 15-year-old was shot in his leg, chest and abdomen. He was taken to Stroger Hospital and pronounced dead. The other boy, 16, was hit in the ankle and also taken to Stroger. He was in fair condition.
Saturday night, a 13-year-old girl was killed and two other teens were wounded in Austin on the West Side.
The girl was inside a home about 8:30 p.m. in the 1000 block of North LeClaire Avenue when the shots were fired, and she was struck in the neck, police said. Amaria J. Jones was taken to Stroger, where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.
The person who killed Jones was shooting at two teen boys who were sitting outside on a porch. Both were hit but survived. The Chicago Sun-Times spoke to Jones’ aunt who lost her own son less than a year ago:
Amaria’s death marks the second shooting death in her family in less than nine months. Her cousin, Derrick Burns, was gunned down in September in the 700 block of North Cicero, less than a mile from where she was killed. He was just 20.
Burns’ mother, Takemia Jones, said the family is reeling again after the death of her young niece, who recently completed seventh grade at John Hay Community Academy and was described as a sweet girl who “loved to dance” and play basketball.
Takemia Jones lived in the same building with her niece and was home Saturday night, though she initially thought the gunfire was merely firecrackers. Now instead of helping Jones hunt for a summer job, she’s waiting to attend her funeral.
“I feel sad and hurt,” she said. “I feel powerless, and I feel there should be more police on the street.”
More police on the street is a narrative you don’t see in the media much these days. Unfortunately, Amaria Jones was not the youngest victim this weekend. A 3-year-old toddler named Mekay James was shot in the back while riding in the car with his step-father, who was the intended victim. Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted about the shooting.
Our city's collective heart breaks to hear the unfathomable news of a 3-year-old boy who was shot and killed tonight on Chicago's West Side. There are simply no words to describe such a heinous, unconscionable act of cowardice to shoot at a toddler.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) June 21, 2020
I ask that anyone with information on this incident please come forward or submit a tip anonymously at https://t.co/Tt6O9g49ZD.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) June 21, 2020
Rev. Ira Acree made a point about the shooting of James:
“A 3-year-old was gunned down,” he said. “A line was crossed.”
Acree also raised issues of social justice.
“It would be an ultimate contradiction to march for justice for George Floyd and not say a word about a 3-year-old who can’t defend himself or speak for himself,” he said. “Don’t miss the point. we say Black lives matter. Black babies’ lives matter more.”
Police superintendent David Brown said the city needed to “keep violent offenders in jail longer.”
Police said the only thing the acts of violence over the weekend all have in common are “gangs, guns, and drugs.” But the visibly frustrated Supt. Brown repeatedly emphasized violent offenders not being in jail and the failure of home monitoring.
“I’ve been here eight weeks, and it’s shocking that no one monitors people on home monitor,” Brown said. “That’s shocking to me.”
He added: “I got here thinking, oh we need leadership, maybe cops need better work ethic or strategy — it’s none of that Cops are working hard. We’re just chasing our tails.”
Brown refused to specify what he was talking about but because of a COVID-19 outbreak a judge ordered a reduction in crowding back in March:
In Chicago, the Cook County Jail, one of the nation’s largest, has become a hot spot for coronavirus. A correctional officer who worked in the jail and six detainees have died after testing positive from coronavirus.
To slow the spread of the virus in the jail, a Cook County judge in March ordered bail reduction hearings to bring down the population by releasing detainees not considered a threat.
As a result, since March the jail’s population has dropped by roughly 1,600 to just over 4,000 detainees as of May 5, according to data available on the Cook County Sheriff’s website.
So while we have Black Lives Matter protesters in the Seattle autonomous zone asking for defunding police and getting rid of the court system, Chicago is living through a situation where there arguably aren’t enough police and even when they do arrest people they can’t be kept in jail or monitored properly. Will anyone in the national media make the connection between what protesters say they want and what it might look like if they were to get it?
Here’s a local report from CBS2 Chicago: