PILSEN — Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) and local violence interrupters are trying to calm tension in Pilsen after two fatal shootings Monday blocks apart the alderman said may be connected.
At around 1 p.m. Monday, a 34-year-old man was shot multiple times at South Bell Avenue and West Cermak Road, police said. The man was rushed to Mt. Sinai Hospital and pronounced dead, police said.
Less than an hour later, a 32-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman were fatally shot while driving down the 2400 block of West 21st Street, police said.
An officer responding to the scene suffered a leg injury and three people were taken into custody, police said.
Sigcho-Lopez called for 48 hours of peace while violence prevention groups in the neighborhood try to negotiate a truce, he said in a Facebook post.
That stretch of Pilsen has long grappled with violent crime, concerning neighbors that “it could now escalate again and create more issues in the community,” Sigcho-Lopez said.
A nearby four-block stretch of Western Avenue has seen at least four other shootings since December.
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A network of local community groups and violence interrupters started canvassing the area Tuesday, talking to neighbors in hopes of putting a momentary stop to the violence, which “appears targeted and is tearing our families apart,” Sigcho-Lopez said.
But sustainable deescalation past the next 48 hours requires more equitable investments in schools, job training, parks programming, substance abuse counseling, reopening mental health clinics and “seeing these crimes as a public health emergency,” Sigcho-Lopez said.
Sigcho-Lopez said the recently passed $16 billion city budget doesn’t require enough accountability from police and nonprofits to report how they’re spending money to ease violence.
“We don’t have an issue with funding, but we do with how it’s working. We have city leadership that’s tone-deaf to the immediate needs of the community,” Sigcho-Lopez said. “We’re living in the aftermath of bad decisions. This crisis is going to stay with us a long time.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
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