Escalating Violence in Chicago Erupts with A Bloody Father's Day Weekend

At least 52 people were shot in a wave of violence in Chicago.

ByBY CHRIS BURY And JESSICA HOPPER
June 21, 2010, 5:06 PM

—June 21, 2010 -- Father's Day in a Chicago housing project erupted into gunfire, leaving five shot, including a one-year old girl and her father. The shooting was one of at least 40 reported during a violent and bloody weekend in Chicago that left seven people dead.

The saddest part: such violence has become so typical that it didn't even make the front pages.

"They're waging war in the streets of Chicago and we're losing children every single day," said Dr. Steven Salzman, a trauma surgeon at Advocate Christ Medical Center.

Most of the weekend shootings took place in poor neighborhoods on the city's south and west sides. Those areas are away from downtown and tourist attractions, perhaps one reason much of the city seemed to shrug its shoulders at the violence.

"I think people just say, 'Ah, it's a bunch of gang bangers shooting each other,'" said Jim O'Shea, editor of Chicago News Cooperative. "Unfortunately though, a lot of innocent people get caught in the crossfire."

The losses are staggering: 52 people shot, seven people dead. Charles Ibitoye learned that his 17-year-old son O.J. and another teen were two of the victims. They were found shot to death this morning.

"This is crazy, they didn't have to kill my son," Ibitoye said.

A dozen gunshot victims came to Stroger Hospital. One of them died; the others are still hanging on.

"We had a young girl come in that was shot in the back and will probably be paralyzed," said Dr. Kimberly Nagy, a trauma surgeon.

Police and city officials blame gangs and easy access to guns in spite of a ban on handguns now being challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court.

"You have reasonable laws to get a car, why can't you have reasonable laws to deal with a gun?" Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said. "I think a gun is more dangerous than a car."

Beyond the guns and gangs, the city is coping with a culture in which, all too often, minor squabbles lead to deadly force.

"I think people have just grown up thinking if I'm mad at you, I'm going to grab my gun and shoot you," Dr. Nagy said.

In spite of all the shootings, police say violent crime in Chicago is actually down 11 percent so far this year. That's cold comfort to those lives shattered during an ordinary weekend in the city.

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