Man shot dead on Near North Side is 400th homicide this year

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A man was shot to death early Friday near the former Cabrini-Green public housing projects on the Near North Side, according to Chicago Police, marking the city’s 400th homicide this year.

Just before 3 a.m., two men were in the 500 block of West Iowa when one, age 31, was shot multiple times in the face, and the other, 34, was shot repeatedly in the abdomen, police said. The circumstances of the attack were unknown.

The older man was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition. The younger man, Kennatay K. Leavell, died at the scene at 3:09 a.m., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He lived in the North Side Rogers Park neighborhood.

His death, at least the 400th homicide of 2017 in the city, happened early on the 207th day of the year, meaning Chicago has logged nearly two homicides per day, according to data maintained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Not included in that figure are five people shot dead by on-duty Chicago Police officers during confrontations that are being investigated by the Independent Police Review Authority.

Additionally, the deaths of 10 people this year have been ruled homicides due to wounds that they suffered in years past; and four people have been charged with reckless homicide to over motor vehicle-involved deaths. In another case, a man has been charged with murder though autopsy results are still pending.

The city continues to outpace its historic 2016 bloodshed, which saw 781 homicides. Last year’s 400th killing didn’t happen until Aug. 1, Sun-Times data shows.

It took barely two months this year for Chicago to hit the 100-homicide mark, and the carnage has risen along with warmer temperatures. The city passed 200 homicides on May 9, and 300 on June 18.

Fifteen people have been slain in the last week alone.

Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey commented on Facebook that those “should make you think and make you scared and sad and angry.”

The vast majority of the killings — 371 — have come by way of gunfire, the data shows. Fifteen were stabbed to death, nine were abused or assaulted, two were strangled, two were intentionally hit by vehicles, and one was forced to ingest bleach.

The victims have ranged in age from 2 months to 78 years old, with people of color suffering the overwhelming brunt of the violence. Nearly 90 percent of this year’s dead were African-American or Hispanic, according to information from the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Women and girls accounted for just 38 of the victims. Nearly two-thirds were black or Hispanic men between 18 and 40.

Violence has centered in South and West side communities that have been plagued by gunfire for generations. Thirty-nine homicides have happened in the Austin neighborhood — the highest number in the city — and 30 people have been slain in Englewood.

In all, more than 2,100 people have been shot in Chicago this year.

In his Facebook post, Commissioner Fritchey wrote: “There’s not much I can say that those sentences don’t scream so I’ll just leave it at that.”

He said the 400th homicide of the year “happened about 2 blocks from where I live. The incident itself doesn’t really faze me because I’ve long known that these things can happen anywhere in the city (obviously far, far more in certain areas but still…)

“If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I frequently try to make people more aware – and more angry – about what is happening in our city.”

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