David Struett and Ben Pope, Chicago Sun Times, July 5, 2020
Chicago was left reeling over the Fourth of July weekend as citywide gun violence left multiple children killed for the third weekend in a row.
As of 5 a.m. Monday, 79 people were shot, 15 of them fatally, including two children shot dead Saturday night. Nine other gunshot victims over the weekend were minors.
Ten children under 18 have died in Chicago gun violence since June 20, according to Chicago Sun-Times records.
The weekend ended up being more deadly than Independence Day weekend in 2019, when five people were killed and 65 others wounded. In 2018, 14 people killed and 87 wounded citywide in holiday weekend shootings.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot prepared for the historically violent weekend by deploying an extra 1,500 Chicago police officers — something the city did in 2019 — but the gun violence continued unabated.
Two more children killed
On Saturday night, 7-year-old Natalia Wallace died after being shot while visiting her grandmother at a party in Austin.
She was outside where kids were riding on bicycles when three gunmen stepped out of a car and let off more than 20 shots in the 100 block of North Latrobe Avenue, Chicago police said.
Also Saturday night, 14-year-old Vernado Jones Jr., died after being among eight people shot, three others fatally, in Englewood on the South Side, officials said.
Community activist Andrew Holmes announced Sunday a $2000 reward for “information leading to the arrest and conviction” in the case of Natalia Wallace.
“Let’s stop pointing fingers and get these shooters off the streets,” Holmes said at a news conference Sunday in Austin, “because with the technology we have in this city, there’s enough cameras and enough citizens around here that’s seen something.”
Also Sunday, several community activists demanded federal funding to help with the “out of control” gun violence, while also accusing the mayor of turning her back on police.
In a news conference in Little Village, Raul Montes Jr. called the weekend gun violence a “carbon copy” of the last few weeks and blamed Lightfoot for allowing protests to devolve into looting while “giving a nod to Antifa,” a far-left anti-fascist group.
Another activist, Jacqueline Baez of Belmont Cragin, said residents are scared to go outside and called for increased police funding.
Baez dismissed the calls of other activists to defund police departments, a refrain of nationwide protests since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“Defunding police is the stupidest thing to say,” Baez said. “We need police. We need to feel safe in our communities … I don’t feel safe letting my kids play outside.”
The last three weekends in Chicago have been especially deadly for children.
Last week, 1-year-old Sincere A. Gaston was killed when someone opened fire on his mother’s car as they drove home from a laundromat in Englewood. Lina Nunez, 10, was killed in Logan Square when a bullet came through her window and struck her.
Over Father’s Day weekend, Mekhi James, 3 years old, was fatally shot while riding in an SUV with his father in Austin when someone opened fire on them from another vehicle. Amaria Jones, 13, died after she was struck by a stray bullet in a shooting that also wounded two boys on the West Side. They were among 104 people shot that weekend, 15 of them fatally.