At least 58 people shot over Labor Day weekend

By Zach Harris

CHICAGO – The summer of 2021 ended on a violent note in Chicago this Labor Day weekend, with close to 60 people shot between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.

The weekend’s total of 58 shooting victims was the most since 2016, and seven more than Labor Day weekend 2020, suggesting the troubling double-digit spikes in violence Chicago experienced last year have continued to be a formidable challenge for the city.

Many of the neighborhoods where the shootings happened have for decades been under-resourced and lacking in jobs and opportunities, conditions that allowed violence to take a deep hold, even before the pandemic adversely affected the very same communities with job losses and stress.

The weekend’s shootings were devastating: a 4-year-old boy visiting Chicago killed as he had his hair braided inside a Woodlawn apartment, a 14-year-old boy injured after being shot on a street in Little Village, and a CTA bus driver beaten and wounded by a gunshot in the Loop.

Last year, Chicago saw a 50% increase in both shootings and homicides. Other large cities, including New York and Los Angeles, have also experienced worrisome spikes in gun violence since 2020.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot in August called on all city departments to collaborate on reducing gun violence and to take a “whole of government approach” to finding solutions to the persistent problem.

On Monday morning Chicago police Superintendent David Brown held a news briefing with top commanders to outline the efforts by police over the weekend, including partnerships with community organizations, as well as the continued seizure of of handguns, weapons that drive most of the city’s violence.

Brown spoke candidly and personally about the risks youth in Chicago face when they are in the vicinity of those who are swept into or engaging in violent conflicts, which are retaliatory in nature.

“I have family members that I don’t invite over for family gatherings, just because of some of the issues that come with that family member that is living a life of crime. I don’t want to bring it to my home,” he said, before directly addressing families, adding that he was not trying to “condescend” to anyone. “I would encourage you, as a family, to protect your children from people in the family that are on the wrong side of the law.”

Brown also spoke directly to those who are engaged in the conflicts. “You know the life you lead. You know that you are being targeted. ... Why are you continuing to be around young children? That’s on you. ... Stay away from children if you want to live that life.”

Meanwhile, Brown pledged his department would be “relentless” in pursuing offenders.

Deputy Chief Angel Novalez, charged with improving relations in a city where trust in police has frayed and criticism of the department is constant, sounded a hopeful note in his remarks.

“I wanted to make sure I give out a special thanks to the hundreds and thousands of people in Chicago that in a lawful manner enjoyed all the city had to offer this Labor Day weekend,” Novalez said. “The thousands of folks who biked the drive, enjoyed concerts at Soldier Field, patronized local entertainment businesses, enjoyed the weather at the wonderful parks and those that stayed home and enjoyed their backyards and their neighborhoods. We at the Chicago Police Department thank you for doing your part in maintaining order so we can use the resources to concentrate on crime reduction.”

At least 10 people were shot, two fatally, between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, according to Chicago police.

A man, whose age is unknown to police, was inside a car when he was shot in the head at 2:45 p.m. Sunday in the 7800 block of South Clyde Avenue. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

A 50-year-old man was inside a car about 6:23 a.m. Monday in the 4200 block of West Washington Boulevard when someone fired shots. The man suffered three gunshot wounds to the chest, one to the right arm, one to the head, and one to the mouth. The man’s car also crashed into a fixed object, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

In other shootings:

– A 50-year-old man was standing outside in the 9900 block of South La Salle Street when he was shot by someone riding in a blue Buick about 1 a.m. Monday. The man suffered one gunshot wound to the leg and was taken to Roseland Community Hospital in good condition, police said.

– A 45-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the right leg while Monday walking outside in the 4700 block of South State Street at 1:02 a.m. The man was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center in good condition.

– A 22-year-old man was shot in the face while standing in his backyard in the 9500 block of South Yale Avenue in the Longwood Manor neighborhood around 11:40 p.m. Sunday. He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in serious condition.

– A 26-year-old man was walking outside in the 2200 block of North Lamon Avenue when he suffered one gunshot wound to the left side of his chest about 10:45 p.m. Sunday, according to police. He was taken to West Suburban Medical Center in good condition.

– A 26-year-old man was shot in the 800 block of North St. Louis Avenue in Humboldt Park around 7 p.m. Sunday. He was struck in the arm and took himself to Norwegian Hospital and was in good condition.

– A 55-year-old man was shot in an alley in the 7100 block of South Parnell Avenue in Englewood around 5:48 p.m. Sunday. Someone he knew approached him and fired a handgun, striking the victim in the arm. The victim took himself to St. Bernard Hospital and was in good condition. Police are questioning a person of interest.

– At 5:22 p.m. Sunday, a 32-year-old man was inside a vehicle in the 7000 block of South South Shore Drive in the South Shore neighborhood when another vehicle approached and someone inside fired shots. The victim’s car then crashed after he was shot. He was taken to University of Chicago Hospital in critical condition.

– A 56-year-old man was shot at 3:27 p.m. Sunday in the 1400 block of South St. Louis Avenue in the Lawndale neighborhood, where someone approached him, drew a handgun and shot the victim in the foot. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and was in good condition.

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(Tribune reporter Jade Yan contributed.)

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