A Chicago pastor says that city residents are scared to leave their homes after a violent Fourth of July weekend in The Windy City where at least 79 people were shot and 17 were killed, including a 7-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy.
‘We cannot continue to go down this road,’ Pastor Corey Brooks of the New Beginnings Church told Fox News on Monday.
Brooks, who heads the Project HOOD nonprofit dedicated to ending gang violence, said something needs to be done ‘immediately’ to reduce the bloodshed in the city, even if it means deploying the military.
‘I’m for whatever it takes to stop the violence,’ Brooks responded when asked if the mayor of Chicago should take up President Trump‘s offer to have the federal government step in and help.
‘Whatever it takes to save a life.’
Pastor Corey Brooks of the New Beginnings Church in Chicago said residents are scared to leave their homes after a violent Fourth of July weekend which saw 17 people fatally shot, including a 7-year-old girl, Natalia Wallace (right)
Chicago police officers are seen above in the Austin section of the city where a 7-year-old girl was fatally shot on Friday
Video courtesy of WGNTV
‘I think sometimes we have to get beyond our pride of feeling inadequate and just come to an understanding that [we have to do] whatever it takes to save the lives of individuals in our city,’ he continued.
‘That’s exactly what needs to be done.’
Brooks added: ‘So if bringing in the Feds, bringing in the military or whoever to help us to make sure that we can get rid of this violence, I’m all for it, whatever it takes.’
He said the sharp spike in the number of shootings can be attributed to ‘a bunch of individuals, young individuals, young men who are illegal gun owners.’
A Chicago police officer investigates the scene of a shooting in Chicago on Sunday
Investigators are seen above in the area of another shooting which took place in the Englewood section of Chicago on Sunday
This Fouth of July holiday weekend was a particularly violent one in The Windy City, where at least 17 people were fatally shot
‘Not only are they illegal gun owners, but they are shooting at each other,’ he continued.
‘They’re causing havoc in our community and they are causing a lot of destruction and unfortunately, as a result of their destruction, children are being shot. Innocent bystanders are being shot.’
The pastor said that ‘unfortunately people are going to leave and move out of the city because they just can’t take the risk of allowing their children to be shot and killed.’
‘It’s just too much to deal with,’ he said.
The violence was far worse than last year, when the long July Fourth weekend ended with six people dead and 66 wounded in gunfire.
And the holiday weekend of violence follows Chicago’s deadliest Memorial Day weekend since 2015.
After a relatively peaceful Friday, gunfire erupted at around 7pm on Saturday.
Seven-year-old Natalia Wallace was standing on the sidewalk outside her grandmother’s house on the city’s West Side during a Fourth of July party when, according to police, suspects climbed from a car and opened fire.
The child was shot in the head.
‘Bullets just came from nowhere,’ Natalia’s grandmother, Linda Rogers, told the Chicago Tribune on Sunday.
‘I came out here and my grandbaby (was) lying on the ground.’
The shooting has shocked the city and the nation.
‘People are afraid to leave the house,’ Brooks said.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (above) said ‘enough is enough’ on Sunday during a news conference to discuss the shocking fatal shooting of an eight-year-old girl
Secoriea Turner (above) was shot to death in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday night while sitting in a car across the street from the Wendy’s parking lot where Rayshard Brooks was killed by a police officer
Authorities searched on Monday for at least two people who opened fire on the car she was riding in near a flashpoint of recent protests
Authorities said Secoriea was in the car with her mother and another adult when the driver tried to drive through illegally placed barricades to get to a parking lot in the area
‘Individuals are very scared, scared to walk [on] the street, scared to go to the store, scared to go to the playgrounds and it’s a very unfortunate thing,’ he said.
Natalia’s death came amid a spate of shootings around the United States that left several children dead, including a 6-year-old boy in San Francisco, a 6-year-old boy in Philadelphia,an 8-year-old girl in Atlanta, an 11-year-old girl in Columbia, Missouri, and 8-year-old boy in Hoover, Alabama.
Chicago Police said detectives used technology to find the gunman’s vehicle, and they arrested the one man who was sitting inside.
The man had not been charged in Natalia’s death as of Monday morning and his name was not released.
The department did not immediately know how many, if any, arrests have been made in the other weekend homicides.
About three hours after Natalia was shot, a group of young men police believe are members of a gang jumped from a vehicle in the Englewood neighborhood on the city’s South Side and opened fire on a rival gang member.
‘They shot and killed him and they stand over him and keep shooting’ before jumping back in the car and fleeing the scene, Deputy Chief Brendan Deenihan told reporters Monday morning.
But a child, 14-year-old Vernado Jones Jr, was nearby and one of the bullets fired at the man who was killed struck Vernado in the armpit.
‘He had nothing to do with gang-on-gang violence. He was not the intended target,’ Deenihan said.
Atlanta police are offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information leading to arrests in the case
A visibly upset and angry Police Superintendent David Brown lamented the growing roster of children who fall victims to gun violence.
‘We cannot allow this to be normalized in this city,’ he said.
‘We cannot get used to hearing about children being gunned down in Chicago every weekend.’
This year, the department counted the July Fourth weekend shootings from 6pm on Thursday through the end of Sunday.
In all, 13 children under the age of 18 were shot, including the two that died.
The weekend violence highlighted what has been a particularly dangerous year for children in the city.
Police statistics show there have been 32 homicide victims under the age of 18 so far in 2020 compared to 20 during the same period in 2019.
A week earlier, Chicago’s shooting victims included a 1-year-old boy riding in a car with his mother and a 10-year-old girl who was shot by a bullet fired a block away that pierced a window and struck her in the head as she sat on a couch at home.
Chicago has counted a total of 1,782 shooting victims this year, 550 more than during the same period last year.
And the weekend brought the number of homicides for the year to 353, which is 99 more than were recorded for the same period last year.
As he did after the Memorial Day weekend, Brown put much of the blame for the spasms of gunfire on a criminal justice system that fails to keep violent offenders behind bars and a program in which many of those arrested – including those arrested on gun charges – are released from custody after being fitted with electronic bracelets that are designed to monitor their whereabouts.
‘It’s clearly not working,’ he said.
Brown also pointed to a drastic reduction in the number of inmates at the county jail, which he said has left Chicago and other communities at greater risk of becoming victims of crimes.
The killing happened near the Wendy’s restaurant where a black man, Rayshard Brooks (above), was killed by a white police officer June 12
The image above shows a Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta burning after it was set on fire by arsonists on June 13
Protesters chant outside a Wendy’s restaurant on June 23 after a funeral for Rayshard Brooks was held
Even before the pandemic prompted the release of more than 1,600 detainees between May and June of this year, an order to judges to set bail only in amounts that defendants could afford, resulted in a reduction in the jail’s population by 1,500 in 2017 alone.
‘We must keep violent offenders in jail longer,’ he said.
The shooting death of an 8-year-old girl in Atlanta prompted a $10,000 reward for information as authorities searched on Monday for at least two people who opened fire on the car she was riding in near a flashpoint of recent protests.
Police identified the girl killed on Saturday night as Secoriea Turner.
And officers returned to the scene late Sunday to investigate another shooting, steps away from where Secoriea was shot, that left one person dead at the scene and two others injured, news outlets reported.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for justice in Secoriea’s death during an emotional news conference Sunday with the girl’s grief-stricken mother.
‘You shot and killed a baby,’ the mayor said.
‘And there wasn’t just one shooter, there were at least two shooters.’
‘You can’t blame this on a police officer,’ she added.
‘You can’t say this about criminal justice reform. This is about some people carrying some weapons who shot up a car with an 8-year-old baby in the car for what?’
‘Enough is enough,’ Bottoms continued.
‘If you want people to take us seriously and you don’t want us to lose this movement, we can’t lose each other.’
The killing happened near the Wendy’s restaurant where a black man, Rayshard Brooks, was killed by a white police officer June 12.
The fast food outlet was later burned, and the area has since become a site for frequent demonstrations against police brutality.
Secoriea was slain during a particularly violent night in Atlanta on Saturday.
A half-dozen shootings across the city left at least 23 people struck by gunfire, with the girl and two others shot to death, Interim Police Chief Rodney Bryant said.
A fourth person died at a hospital after one of the shootings, Sgt. John Chafee said.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp addressed the Atlanta shootings on social media, saying the ‘recent trend of lawlessness is outrageous and unacceptable.’
‘Georgians, including those in uniform, need to be protected from crime and violence,’ Kemp said on Twitter on Sunday night.
‘While we stand ready to assist local leaders in restoring peace and maintaining order, we won´t hesitate to take action without them.’
Authorities said Secoriea was in the car with her mother and another adult when the driver tried to drive through illegally placed barricades to get to a parking lot in the area.
An Atlanta Police Department officer stands watch as a burned out Wendy’s restaurant is cleared of protesters and their belongings in Atlanta on Monday
Two people, including 8-year-old Secoriea Turner, were killed over the violent Fourth of July holiday weekend near the site where Brooks was killed
Armed individuals blocking the entrance opened fire on the vehicle, striking it multiple times and striking the child, police said.
The driver took Secoriea to Atlanta Medical Center but she did not survive.
‘She was only 8 years old,’ said her mother, Charmaine Turner.
‘She would have been on Tik Tok dancing on her phone, just got done eating. We understand the frustration of Rayshard Brooks. We didn’t have anything to do with that. We’re innocent. My baby didn’t mean no harm.’
The girl just wanted to get home to see her cousins, said her father, Secoriya Williamson.
‘They say Black lives matter,’ he said. ‘You killed your own.’
In Washington, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany lamented at Monday’s news briefing that she was not asked by reporters about weekend killings in Atlanta and other major US cities.
McEnany said she was asked ‘probably 12 questions about the Confederate flag’ and was dismayed that she did not get one about the weekend shootings.
She also said comments by Secoriea’s father ‘broke my heart.’
Police released a wanted poster announcing the $10,000 reward. The mayor urged anyone with information to come forward.
The mayor noted that protesters had damaged Georgia State Patrol headquarters in Atlanta in a separate incident early Sunday. She said the city´s 911 system was flooded with calls Saturday.