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CPD: July 4 weekend gun violence down from last year

By Tanja Babich and Eric Horng,

On a night of Fourth of July fireworks celebrations, it was by no means a victory lap by the superintendent. But he said proactive policing, including a sweep of gang members, made a difference this weekend.

With Washington Park and July Fourth barbecues as a backdrop, there was cautious optimism on Monday night from Chicago’s top cop, Supt. Eddie Johnson.

“We’re making progress. It’s not success yet, but these are just… this goes a long way, I think, to letting everybody know that we are focusing on the right individuals,” said Johnson.

Police say by mid-afternoon at least three people had been killed in weekend shootings and another 28 had been wounded.

Compare that to the July 4th weekend in 2015 when at least 10 people were killed and more than 50 were wounded.

This year’s decrease is attributed in part to beefed-up patrols. Some 5,000 officers are flooding beaches and neighborhoods. The superintendent himself has joined officers on patrol.

“I feel protected. Plus I have God, but I feel protected, so no I didn’t hesitate about coming out at all,” said Bronzeville resident Sharron Lee.

Police on Monday also touted a Thursday and Friday round-up of 115 people who were mainly alleged gang members.

Police say the arrests on drug and weapons charges disrupted gang operations.

“If you focus on the right individuals, you’ll see the gun violence decrease in Chicago,” said Supt. Johnson.

That a weekend marked by some three dozen shootings would be seen as progress speaks to the level of violence in Chicago that’s marked the first half of the year.

“Anything that you see such as this is an encouragement, but we just have to keep our foot on the pedal,” said Supt. Johnson.

The superintendent also announcing on Monday night that more body cameras have been deployed, as part of CPD’s transparency efforts. By the end of the month, officers in seven police districts are expected to have the cameras.

Sunday night, Chicago Police Deputy Superintendent John Escalante was asked what he thought the reason was for this weekend’s relative calm.

“We have maintained a very visible presence, from the rank and file, the command staff that have been out all weekend including myself and the superintendent all the way down to volunteers that have come in to work their days off,” Escalante said.

CPD said it would deploy 5,000 officers this weekend in hopes of curbing gun violence.

So far, 2016 is on pace to potentially become one of the bloodiest in years. Last month alone, 72 people were killed.

The most recent fatal shooting occurred in the Little Village neighborhood on the South Side. The man was shot in the back of the head at a playground on the 2200 block of South Lawndale just before 11 p.m. Sunday night. Police found his body up against a fence.

Kahvi London lives across from the park. She originally thought the sound of gunshots were Fourth of July fireworks.

“The city, overall, has gotten progressively worse year after year, summer after summer and it’s ridiculous” London said. “I can’t continue to raise my kids in this city, in this violence, it’s terrible.”

The park is right across from an elementary school.

Early Saturday, one man was killed and another was wounded in an East Garfield Park neighborhood shooting on the West Side.

Hector Badillo Jr., 31, was standing outside an auto repair shop about 3:30 a.m. in the 700 block of North California Avenue when a gunman came out of an alley and opened fire, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Badillo, of the 400 block of North Trumbull, was shot in the neck and pronounced dead at the scene at 3:41 a.m., authorities said. Family members said his father owned the repair shop.

A 44-year-old man sitting in a car nearby was shot in the left leg, police said. His condition was stabilized at Stroger Hospital.

The latest nonfatal shooting happened early Monday in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side.

A 21-year-old man was standing outside about 4:10 a.m. near West Cortland Street and North Mason Avenue when a white SUV drove by and someone inside opened fire, police said. He was shot in the shoulder and was taken to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, where his condition was stabilized.

At 1:24 a.m. in the Roseland neighborhood, a 24-year-old man was shot in the chest and head in the 600 block of East 107th Street on the Far South Side, police said. He was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in critical condition.

Less than an hour earlier, a man was shot before his vehicle crashed in the Little Village neighborhood on the Southwest Side. The 27-year-old was driving about 12:45 a.m. in the 2400 block of South Washtenaw when he was shot in the back of the head, police said. His vehicle then crashed into two parked vehicles. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition.

Late Sunday, a 37-year-old man was shot and critically injured in the Gresham neighborhood on the South Side. He was outside about 11:45 p.m. in the 8800 block of South Wood when a black vehicle drove by, and someone inside shot him in the abdomen and hand, police said. He was taken to Christ Medical Center in critical condition.

About 11:30 p.m., a man was shot during a robbery late Sunday in the West Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side. The 20-year-old was walking outside in the 4000 block of West West End Avenue when two males walked up and announced a robbery, police said. The man ran away and was shot in the side, leg and arm. He was taken in fair condition to Mount Sinai Hospital.

Less than 30 minutes earlier, a 52-year-old man was shot in the Park Manor neighborhood on the South Side. He was standing outside at 11:12 p.m. in the 7100 block of South State Street when he heard gunfire and realized he’d been shot in the foot, police said. He was taken in good condition to St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center.

Earlier Sunday, a 15-year-old boy was shot in the foot about 10:45 p.m. in the first block of West Cermak Road, police said. He took himself to Comer Children’s Hospital, where his condition was stabilized.



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