13 shot at Chicago basketball court; 3 year old critical
Here's a mass shooting that probably won't elicit calls for more gun control.
Thirteen people were shot - including a 3-year-old boy - Thursday night at a South Side park when two gunmen opened fire on a group gathered at a basketball court in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.
As bullets began to fly about 10:15 p.m., the group scattered, taking cover wherever they could at Cornell Square Park, police and witnesses said.
Julian Harris, 22, said his 3-year-old nephew, Deonta "Tay-man" Howard, was shot in the face.
Deonta was taken in critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital, according to Fire Media Affairs.
Harris said dreadlocked gunmen in a gray sedan fired at him at the corner of Wood and 51st before turning north on Wood and shooting up the park. According to other witnesses, two gunman got out of the car and began shooting.
Police said the shooting was gang-related, but they could not describe how the shooting occurred.
"They hit the light pole next to me but I ducked down and ran into the house," Harris said. "They've been coming round here looking for people to shoot every night - just gang-banging stuff. It's what they do."
The young boy's aunt, Lavada Hardeman, 18, said her brother, was killed on Labor Day.
"I can't catch a break," Hardeman said.
The 3-year-old's uncle, Jerome "J Money" Wood, a rapper who was affiliated with Def Jam artist Durk "Lil Durk" Banks, was shot in the head and died on Sept. 2 in the 6600 block of South Rhodes in the Woodlawn neighborhood.
Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church on the South Side presided over Wood's funeral. He said he was called early Friday to again comfort the family at the hospital.
"They're frustrated, upset and hurt and disappointed that this is just happening over and over and over in our community," Brooks said.
The Washington Post has a later report that says 2 others besides the child were critically wounded.
There will be obligatory references to gun control by the usual suspects but no great outcry. That's because we expect this sort of gang violence in a gang-infested neighborhood. Gun control advocates only make a stink when they can exploit an unexpected tragedy - a mass shooting at the workplace or at a school. That's when the rest of America is discomfited and emotionally open to calls for stricter gun laws.
But few care when a bunch of poor people become target practice for thugs. Mayor Rahn Emanuel's administration has presided over the rise of Chicago to be the murder capital of the US, but no one is asking him many questions - yet.
But the police appear helpless to prevent rampages like this. And the rate at which murders are solved is Detroit-like in its demonstration of futility:
The day Cornell was killed, Guy says, she beat the detectives to the crime scene, waiting for more than an hour before they arrived. For weeks afterward, she says, when she called the investigators assigned to the case for updates, they were either too busy to come to the phone or told her, "We'll call you when we know something." (Investigators did not return Chicago's calls for comment.)
That's when Guy decided to take matters into her own hands. "My son was no angel," she says. "But I don't want his case to slip through the cracks."
More like the chasm. Only 132 of the 507 murder cases in the city last year were closed last year. That makes for a homicide clearance rate of 26 percent--the lowest in two decades, according to internal police records provided to Chicago. (The true picture is even worse; more on that later.) To put it another way: About three-quarters of the people who killed someone in Chicago in 2012 have gotten away with murder--so far, at least. "Those stats suggest a crisis," says Arthur Lurigio, a criminologist at Loyola University Chicago.
Chicago was no crime free paradise before Emanuel was elected mayor. But by any yardstick, the murder rate has gone through the roof. Police will point to reductions in other violent crime, but the truth is, the crime of murder is far more indicative of the quality of life in a city or a neighborhood than any other offense.
The gangs are running wild in Chicago. And authorities appear not to know what to do about it.