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Chicago’s 4th of July weekend murders unseen next to Highland Park

CHICAGO — No new counseling resources are being launched in this city’s impoverished south, even after a man was shot dead in broad daylight just steps from a playground days before July 4.

There are no crowdfunding charity campaigns raising millions for the families of the victims in Chicago, where the holiday weekend death toll reached at least 10 with 62 injured – figures that exceed the death toll from the shooting. mass on Monday during a July 4 parade in Highland Park, Ill. In this affluent lakeside suburb, violence was an anomaly. It’s an eerily regular occurrence here.

“They have a lot of resources there in Highland Park,” said Bobbie Brown, 62, who watched the nationally televised law enforcement response and community outpouring from her home in the Englewood neighborhood, down the block from where the homicide near the playground occurred Friday afternoon. “Isn’t that something?” Our babies see people being shot while they’re in the playground, and there’s no advice. They have to suck it up and take care of it.

This year’s holiday violence was subdued in Chicago compared to the previous year, when more than 100 people were shot and injured and 17 died, according to Chicago Police Department data.

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Brown, an activist and community organizer, describes herself as the “Big Mama” of the neighborhood. She waves two American flags above the front door of her duplex. One is red, white and blue; the other – red, black and green – is known as the Black Liberation Flag. Her property is a neighborhood haven, she said.

This spring, a young man was shot down the block and ran into his yard, resting on his gazebo deck. As she tried to provide first aid, the police arrived. She said they watched and waited for an ambulance, their body cameras activated, but did not help.

“I’ve never seen so much blood in my life,” Brown said. “I looked at them. Nobody cares. No one said anything or even gave me advice on what to do. But they are recording me.

A detective later told him that the man had been pronounced dead at the hospital. Brown did not have the names of the officers who responded to his home, and Chicago police said the Washington Post should file a Freedom of Information Act request for details on the response to the incident. .

In communities marred by weekly and sometimes daily violence on the South Side, news of the Highland Park shooting brought mixed emotions. For many, the quick response aided by Chicago policemen on loan to the north poured salt into very recent wounds.

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Champagne Gardner, a 29-year-old practical nurse, said she was sleeping at her mother’s house in the Grand Crossing neighborhood early Sunday when her mother decided to call the police about noise coming from a party in her neighborhood. With the dispatchers on the phone, her mother came out to get the exact address. As she stood in front of the house hosting the party, she heard gunshots.

Gardner says it took law enforcement 45 minutes to arrive, although the nearest police station was a mile away. A 24-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene and two women were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds, police said. Chicago police did not respond to a request for comment.

“It was sad to hear about Highland Park,” Gardner said of the suburb where the median household income is $147,067, according to the 2020 census. “But at the same time, we’re used to this stuff here. There was a shooting in that same house last year.

Gardner’s family does not let their young children play beyond their fenced yard in Grand Crossing, where the median household income is estimated at just over $29,000. The same goes for Shermiya, a 35-year-old mother of three who asked to be identified only by her first name for security reasons. Taking her kids to a Fourth of July parade — or any large gathering — in her neighborhood would be unthinkable, she said.

She lives around the corner from the 6600 block of South Evans Avenue, where at 2:50 a.m. Tuesday police responded to a report of gunshots. A 31-year-old man who was shot six times was transported by ambulance to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Two other people were treated for gunshot wounds.

“When it’s a shooting in a city street, nothing happens”

Shermiya, a Triton College-educated engineer, drives her three children 45 minutes west every morning during the school year, outside the city limits. His parents live there and the children use their address to go to school.

Children have not been allowed to leave their homes on foot – even to play in their yard – since last year when someone was shot dead on the corner of the nearby street. After police left the area, a young man whom neighbors believed to be the shooter approached Shermiya’s 10-year-old son as he was playing outside and asked if he had seen anything . A watchful neighbor urged the boy to come in.

“After that, it was like I wasn’t playing here anymore,” Shermiya said. “I don’t allow my children to go out. I have no friends. I don’t come to socialize in this area. I don’t trust him here.

For her, TV coverage of Highland Park was little more than a reminder that the suburb an hour away exists in a different universe.

“It was on for hours and hours,” Shermiya said. “And it’s like people are getting shot every day here, around the corner, up the street. But they still don’t cover it up because there aren’t enough white people here .

JR, 50, who lives down the block from Shermiya and closer to the South Evans shooting site, and who agreed to be identified only by his first name for security reasons, said he had noticed no police or media response to anything on South Evans over the weekend.

“We are being ignored here,” he said. “Kids get shot here – they throw them in the bag and carry on. But they got the whole SWAT team down there in Highland Park trying to figure this shit out–.

Brown was also angered by the differences she observed in the way black citizens are often treated and the arrest of Robert Crimo III, the suspect in the Highland Park shootings. Officers apprehended him after a car chase Monday night without using force.

“I didn’t see their foot on his neck,” she said. “They handled him with kid gloves. “Light up, baby.” He is not dead ? Where do they do that?”

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For her, inner city poverty and its consequences are intentional. Segregation, redlining, housing discrimination and lack of public resources have produced a community full of vacant homes and underperforming or closed schools, she said. Harper High School, down the street from her home, became notorious for its lack of educational resources, crumbling infrastructure and frequent violence before it closed in 2021.

Brown’s son and daughter both served in the US military, she said. His is the only house in the neighborhood with an American flag hanging above the front door.

“We were forced here, so I have no country to go back to,” Brown said. “It’s my country. They should treat me like that, but they don’t.

As Brown spoke Tuesday afternoon, the remnants of fireworks erupted across the street. She didn’t flinch. While Highland Park witnesses described confusion in the moments after the shooting began, with many mistaking the gunfire for fireworks, there is little confusion here among well-trained ears. .

“When it’s a gunshot,” Brown said, “there’s a little more punch.”


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