Back of Yards shooting puts spotlight on Chicago

Back of Yards shooting injures thirteen

A weekend of several shootings in Chicago brought about national media attention after a mass shooting at a South Side park in the Back of the Yards neighborhood Sept. 19.

Before Cornell Square Park closed at 11 p.m., some residents enjoyed the weather while others played basketball on one of the park’s courts. At about 10:15 p.m. shots were fired from a car injuring 13 people at the park, according to police.

Garry McCarthy, Chicago Police Department Superintendent, said at a press conference Friday morning that the incident appeared to be gang-related and a number of the victims were gang members.

Among the victims was a 3-year-old boy whose condition was stabilized after he was shot in the face. Based on preliminary evidence, McCarthy said they believed an assault weapon was used.

The victims were taken to six different area hospitals and all are expected to recover.

Since Jan. 1 2012, the largest multi-victim shootings in Chicago had eight victims. They occurred on August 2012 and July 2013, according to data from The Chicago Tribune.

McCarthy said the shooting took place in a high gang conflict zone and that they were talking to several people.

Since Friday night, four people were killed and 11 were hurt in shootings across the city, the Sun-Times reported.

Action against gun violence

McCarthy spoke passionately at the press conference about the need for action against gun violence.

“A military-grade weapon on the streets of Chicago is simply unacceptable,” McCarthy said. “We need to keep illegal guns and military weapons out of our communities.”

McCarthy said he believes that anyone who buys these kinds of guns should have a background check. He cited additional issues towards violence such as legislation, parenting, education and working to keep kids off the streets and that “the fact is, there’s too many guns in our community.”

Mayor: shootings have become ‘too frequent’

Mayor Rahm Emanuel canceled his plans in Washington D.C. and flew back to Chicago the morning after the shooting.

“Senseless and brazen acts of violence have no place in Chicago and betray all that we stand for,”

Emanuel said in a statement Sept. 20. Emanuel addressed the shooting at a press conference Sept. 21 and said “I want the people of Chicago to see the real face of Chicago.”

Emanuel emphasized that the gun violence in Chicago has become too frequent.

“Last night is too frequent and too familiar for some children in Chicago,” Emanuel said. “This has to come to an end.”

Some audience members responded with a resounding “yes” to the mayor’s remarks.

Emanuel emphasized the importance on the children of Chicago.

“We will not allow the children of the city of Chicago to have their youthfulness, optimism and hope taken away from them,” he said. “That’s what gun violence does.”