Pfleger calls on Rauner to issue state of emergency for Chicago

- On Wednesday, a march for peace turned into a rally in hopes of turning the tide against the skyrocketing murders and shootings in Chicago.

“In August so far we've had 470 people shot, that's more than 15 people a day shot in Chicago,” said Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church.

The violence numbers are outrageous. More than 2800 people have been shot in Chicago this year, and nearly as many people have been murdered by the end of August as there were people killed in all of last year.

Father Michael Pfleger is outraged. He wants the situation treated like a natural disaster had hit the city.

“I'm asking Governor Rauner, call a state of emergency for the city of Chicago,” Pfleger said.

He and supporters marched to the intesection of 79th and Racine Tuesday night and shut it down during rush hour to call attention to the 488 people murdered in Chicago so far this year. That's just two shy of how many were killed in all of last year.

“Chicago needs help,” Pfleger chanted over a bull horn as he lay in the middle of the intersection.

Dozens of other people joined him, including children who held signs calling for peace and an end to the violence.

“Parents would trust their kids to go places by themselves, but since people like to kill people, we can't do nothing,” said eight year old Chloe Holmes.

“People’s lives are really at stake, and this really is a state of emergency,” said Ernest Sanders.

Debra Butler joined the rally knowing personally the impact of Chicago's violence. Her 19-year-old son Jeffrey was murdered in 2011.

“We are not guaranteed that anything is going to change, but we are going to try and I'm going to try hard because of my son,” Butler said.

Father Pfleger poured out a jug of fake blood, writing the letters SOS in the middle of the intersection as a symbol of his plea for help. In his frustration, he called out police and politicians.

“I want to know what the strategy is, I want to know what are we going to do about this except keep hearing the numbers and the embarrassment tags on our city around the world?” Pfleger said.

He said it’s time to bring experts from around the country, including military generals, psychiatrists and business leaders to Chicago for a summit to come up with ideas that Chicago can at least try.

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