On the day Chicago’s top cop touted declining crime numbers, the city was hit with one of its most violent days of the year Thursday: four killed, 28 wounded, including three young children who were seriously injured.
A 1-month-old was shot in the head in a mass shooting in Englewood, scene of another mass shooting weeks ago that killed five people and wounded three others.
An 8-year-old girl was shot in the arm as she sat in her home in Roseland. Two women on the porch were also shot and one of them died.
A 9-year-old girl was shot in the head as she sat in a car in Grand Crossing. A Chicago police officer drove her to the hospital, where relatives asked why authorities can’t do more to protect children.
Police Supt. David Brown was asked the same question by a reporter as he held a news conference around the time the 9-year-old was shot. Brown had been talking about new statistics which the department said showed crime is going down in Chicago.
As he has repeatedly done in the past, the superintendent answered by blaming the proliferation of guns, the quick release of suspects and the drug trade for the city’s violence.
Chicago has seen at least 336 homicides for the first six months of the year, just two more than at the same point in 2020 but 33 percent more than 2019’s 252 homicides, according to an analysis by the Sun-Times.
The department, however, said its data shows there have been fewer murders this year than last year, but those numbers do not count killings on expressways that are investigated by the Illinois State Police. The department’s numbers also do not include police-involved homicides.
The Sun-Times data includes all deaths labeled homicides by the Cook County medical examiner’s office. By that measure, this has been a deadlier year so far than last year.
The department did acknowledge in its release that hundreds more people have been shot in the city this year than last year, with numbers roughly the same as the Sun-Times’.
The city has recorded at least 1,892 shootings through June 28, the most recently available statistics, an increase of almost 12 percent compared to 2020’s 1,692 and a 53 percent increase over 2019’s 1,234 shootings during the same time, according to Sun-Times data.
The Sun-Times reported last month that more children 15 or younger have been shot so far this year.
The attacks that wounded the three young children Thursday occurred in some of the deadliest neighborhoods in the city, data shows. Englewood ranks third for homicides this year with 18; Grand Crossing 9th with 14; and Roseland 12th with 12.
Brown is expected to appear before a special City Council meeting Friday called by alderman who said they want to know more about his plans for fighting violence, particularly going into the Fourth of July holiday, traditionally one of the most violent times in the city.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she and Brown will be at the meeting, but accused her political nemesis — indicted Ald. Edward Burke (14th) — and “his minions” of orchestrating the meeting to “create chaos.”
Among Thursday’s shootings:
- The 1-month-old girl was among seven people wounded about 8:15 p.m. Three gunmen jumped out of a black Jeep Cherokee in the 6500 block of South Halsted Street and “began shooting in several directions,” according to police. The trio then hopped back in the SUV and were last seen traveling on 66th Street. No one was in custody. The baby was shot in the head and taken in critical condition to St. Bernard Hospital before being transferred to Comer Children’s Hospital, according to police and a Chicago Fire Department spokesman. The other six were reported in good condition.
- A woman was killed and an 8-year-old girl and another woman were wounded in Roseland on the Far South Side about 1:10 a.m. The two women were sitting on the porch of a home in the 11300 block of South Wentworth Avenue when someone stepped from a white Nissan and fired at them, police said. The girl was inside the home and hit in the arm.
- A 9-year-old girl was critically wounded in a shooting that also left a man hurt in Grand Crossing on the South Side. They were in the 800 block of East 79th Street when a car approached and someone inside opened fire about 2:45 p.m., police said. The girl was struck in the head and taken to Comer Children’s hospital in critical condition. The man was shot in the foot and was in good condition at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
- A 25-year-old man was killed in a drive-by in West Garfield Park around 4:15 p.m. He was standing on the porch in the 4000 block of West Van Buren Street when a car drove by and someone from inside fired shots, Chicago police said. He was shot in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene. He hasn’t been identified.
- Donzell Bailey was killed in a shooting in South Shore. He was found unresponsive with a gunshot wound to his forehead about 8:25 a.m. outside an apartment building in the 6800 block of South Ridgeland Avenue, police said. The 30-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
- Melvin Ajtun, 29, was found fatally shot in a car in Gage Park on the Southwest Side. He was discovered about 5:55 a.m. in the 5400 block of South Artesian Avenue with a gunshot wound to his face, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
- Two men were shot in a drive-by in Back of the Yards on the South Side. About 11:30 p.m., they were standing in a gangway in the 5300 block of South Hoyne Avenue when someone drove past in the alley and began shooting, police said. A 20-year-old man was struck in the foot and a 35-year-old man was struck in the leg. They were taken to St. Bernard Hospital where they are in good condition.
- Two people are in critical condition after their car was caught in the crossfire of a shoot-out in East Garfield Park on the West Side. About 10 p.m., two men and a woman were traveling north on California Avenue and were attempting to turn north onto Van Buren Street when they came between two cars shooting at each other, police said. A 38-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman were struck multiple times and taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital, where they are in critical condition. A 27-year-old man was struck in the right leg and taken to the same hospital, where he is in good condition.