At least six dead in weekend violence as officials promise new, aggressive efforts

CHICAGO -- During a week when both the mayor and the police superintendent announced new aggressive plans to take on violent crime, the stubborn problems remain.

At least six people have been killed and more than a dozen have been shot so far this weekend. In East Garfield Park, police say a 37-year-old man was shot in the head early Saturday morning.

“I walked down here and I saw a gentleman lying on the ground – dead,” said West Side resident Jackie Smith. “I was stunned.  I was absolutely stunned.”

The victim pronounced dead at the scene.

On Friday night, near 57th and Racine a 19-year-old man was shot and killed. During the same incident, a 20-year-old man was shot in the back, and is now in critical condition.

Saturday morning near 77th and Morgan, a 56-year-old man was shot several times in an apartment building. He died of his wounds at Stroger hospital. And on the Northwest Side a 23-year-old man was shot in the arm in the 2100 block of north Tripp.

“Who knows when it’s going to happen? Is your family next? Is mine?” lamented West Side Resident Kevin Dowdell.

Saturday morning on the Dan Ryan Expressway a man in his 20’s was shot in the face when another vehicle pulled up next to his, flashed gang signs and opened fire. And in west Englewood, a 26-year-old man was shot in the leg while trying to break up a fight between two women in the near 71st and south Hoyne.

So far in the month of September there have been 19 homicides and more than 70 shootings in Chicago. This violent weekend comes less than 48 hours after the mayor unveiled his plan to combat violence and days after police superintendent Eddie Johnson announced the city would hire nearly 1,000 officers to get a handle on the violence.

“The shootings and gang violence haven’t been this intense in a long time,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

Still, in the neighborhoods where lives have already been destroyed by violence, some residents say it’s too little, too late.

“It was yesterday when it was time to do something, maybe two weeks ago when it was time to do something, maybe when we had 19 presidents ago it was time to do something, so the time is now, it’s not tomorrow,” Dowdell said.