CHICAGO — On a day when a new FBI report showed little change in Chicago’s murder count, many were outraged at news that at least one gunman shot at a family returning home from an outing Monday night, wounding an 11-month-old boy and killing his mother and grandmother.
A police officer rushed the wounded infant to the hospital, where the child was in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
A vehicle carrying at least one gunman shot and struck the family and two men accompanying them as the five of them exited their own vehicle, Deputy Police Chief Eugene Roy said.
The two wounded men, both in their 20s, were hospitalized Monday evening, Roy said. The mother and grandmother were pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, police said.
“In a second, two generations of that child’s family was wiped out,” Roy said of the shooting.
Relatives identified the mother as Patricia Chew, her son as Princeton Chew, and the grandmother as Lolita Wells, WBBM reported. The station reported the mother was two months pregnant, but Roy declined to comment on that report.
The mother was believed to be age 23, and the grandmother 46, Roy said.
Chicago’s murder rate has earned it a nickname — “Chiraq” — and officials have blamed gang violence for much of it.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel couldn’t contain himself about the latest carnage.
“I’m going to try to control my anger. We have way too many guns on the streets of the city of Chicago, with too little values, and the penalties that don’t match the values of the city of Chicago,” the mayor told WBBM.
“That gang bangers can get access to guns at will, without a value system, and without a sense of consequences and penalties, to indiscriminately shoot at a car with a grandmother, a mother, a child, and two individuals — it happens with a frequency that is unacceptable,” the mayor said.
“Wherever you live, you should be able to get out of your car, and go to your home,” Emanuel said. “If I say anything more, I’ll probably regret what I am going to say, because I am angry at what happened here, and I think I speak for everybody who believes enough is enough.”
Earlier in the same day of the shooting, the FBI released its annual crime statistics that showed Chicago’s count of murder and non-negligent manslaughter cases dipped just slightly, to 411 in 2014 from 414 in 2013.
That drop matched how overall crime rates, including murder, were down last year, according to the FBI statistics. The estimated number of violent crimes nationwide dropped 0.2% and property crime 4.3%, the FBI reported.
Still, Chicago’s 411 murders are more than New York’s 333 murders and Los Angeles’ 260 murders, all in 2014, even though Chicago is behind those two cities in population — it is the nation’s third largest city — the FBI reported Monday.
Houston, the fourth largest U.S. city, reported 242 murders in 2014, the FBI said.
In 2012, Chicago was described as the “murder capital” of the United States because the city registered more homicides than any other city, with 503 murders.
A relative of the victims in Chicago’s shooting Monday said the violence is overwhelming in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood, where the shooting occurred.
“We’ve been here, my mother’s been here 50 years. This is all we know. It’s shooting everywhere. It’s shooting everywhere. They just need to stop. They’re killing innocent people. They’re killing our kids,” Monique Williams told WBBM. “It’s very hard. My kids (are) scared to death. My kids can’t even go to school. They can’t function.”
Chicago Deputy Chief Roy praised the officer who took the wounded infant to the hospital in Monday night’s shooting.
“I think the actions of that officer speak for themselves. He saw a seriously injured 11-month-old child and made the decision to transport that child immediately to a hospital, and he made the right call and he’s somebody we’re very proud of,” Roy said.