CHICAGO — Chicagoans should be outraged over the murders of two young children in the city this weekend, said Police Supt. David Brown.
The killings happened Saturday: First, a 1-year-old boy named Sincere Gaston was shot in Englewood. Just a few hours later, 10-year-old Lena Nunez Anaya was shot in her Logan Square home.
Brown, speaking during a Monday press conference, urged anyone with information about the two killings to come forward. They can call police or submit information anonymously online.
“We all need to be outraged, all of us, by this violence. This is not just a problem for Englewood or Humboldt Park or any other neighborhood plagued by gun violence,” Brown said. “We cannot compartmentalize the violence that is tearing families and communities apart.
“We are all part of this city; we all see its beauty, and we can no longer turn a blind eye to the violence here. I am pleading: Please help us bring these murderers to justice.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot condemned the violence, too, saying the last two weekends have been among the deadliest in Chicago in “a very long time.”
“What causes me the greatest heartache as a mayor, as a mother, just as a human being, is seeing our babies being killed. A 1-year-old, a 17-year-old, 3-year-old, a 10-year-old. This can’t be who we are as a city,” Lightfoot said during a separate Monday press conference. “One of the things that [Rev. Michael Pfleger] said that struck me and stays with me is every single one of these deaths means that we are burying our future.
“We are burying people whose talents we barely even had an opportunity to tap into, who have not had the opportunity to live out their God-given talent. … Dear God, and dear Chicago, we have to do better than what we’re seeing.”
The slayings are part of a recent spate of violence against children.
On June 20, a 3-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl were killed in separate shootings on the West Side. They were two of five children gunned down that weekend.
And this Saturday, Gaston and Anaya were killed.
Gaston was in a car seat as his mother drove home from the laundromat when someone pulled alongside them and fired shots at the car, police said. Gaston was hit in his chest, killing him. A bullet grazed his mother’s head, wounding her.
Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said investigators think the gunman was targeting Gaston’s father, but he was not in the car.
And a few hours later, Anaya was inside her family’s Logan Square apartment as members of a gang were outside, Deenihan said. A rival gang member shot at them from almost a block away, aiming down an alley.
The bullet went through Anaya’s home, hitting her in her head and killing her.
“Once again, it’s gang-on-gang violence,” Deenihan said during Monday’s press conference. “And the opposing gang, they know who did it. And at this point, we need the information, once again.”
An 8-year-old girl was also wounded Saturday when someone fired a shot that grazed her head in West Englewood.
“I will never accept, never, this level of violence. Never. Someone knows something about the murders,” Brown said. “Silence emboldens, empowers those who continue to terrorize our neighborhoods. Now is the time to stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.’
“For God’s sake, for the sake of Chicago’s children, come forward with any information you have to help us solve these crimes.”
Brown said police have done their job: They have seized 4,629 illegally possessed guns in the last six months, including 66 over the weekend. And police arrested 22 people for unlawful use of weapons charges over the weekend.
But Brown said the same thing he did after the previous weekend, when the city was rocked with more than 100 people shot: Violent offenders need to spend more time in jail to prevent shootings.
It’s “evil b——s” who are behind the “senseless loss of life,” Brown said, adding that open air drug markets and unlawful use of weapons arrests are “precursors to violence” in Chicago.
But it’s also a problem that people charged with violent crimes are being let out of jail and can then commit more violence, Brown said.
“Electronic monitoring and low bond amounts given to offenders endangers our residents and flies in the face [of] the hard work our police officers” put in daily, Brown said Monday.
The superintendent said coronavirus has also shut down some parts of the criminal justice system, since juries haven’t met and people were being released from jail to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
That’s left police “stuck in the middle,” Brown said.
“And these murdering, evil b——s have taken advantage of this, these situations,” Brown said.
Police don’t want to arrest everyone — especially not young people who are manipulated by “mastermind” gang members into selling drugs or holding onto guns — but they do want to see “some of them” kept in jail for longer, Brown said.
Police are especially wary as the long Fourth of July weekend looms. The holiday weekend is typically one of the most violent for Chicago.
With the weekend coming quickly, Brown said, police are pleading with courts to “keep ’em in jail through the weekend.”
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