CHICAGO - Chicago marked its 500th homicide of the year early Sunday afternoon on a block of well-kept homes in West Pullman, where Perry Anderson was gunned down as he stepped from his mother’s house.
Anderson’s father believes two gunmen were waiting for his 28-year-old son when he left the house in the 12400 block of South Harvard Avenue. "They shot him maybe 9 or 15 times and never took anything from him," Perry Anderson Sr. said. "My son never hurt nobody."
Anderson had a 5-year-old daughter and an 11-month-old son. The family was preparing for the son’s first birthday on Oct. 18.
The attack happened just two blocks from another fatal shooting four days earlier. Even so, shootings and homicides are down in West Pullman, as they are generally across the city.
It took Chicago longer this year to reach 500 homicides than it did the last two years, when the grim milestone was reached in August as shootings rose at a pace not seen in the city since the 1990s, according to data from the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Shootings are down 19% from last year and murders are down 15%, according to police data. At this time last year, there had been 591 homicides, two years ago 550. In 2019, before the spike in gun violence, there were around 550 homicides for the entire year.
Supt. David Brown, while emphasizing the decline in gun violence, told reporters Monday that "500 is way too many. Four-hundred is way too many. Chicago’s always been out of the norm of other cities like-sized."
Despite being larger, New York City and Los Angeles have in recent years recorded far fewer homicides. New York had tallied 299 homicides through Monday, while L.A. had logged 270 by Sept. 3, according to records maintained by the cities.
Asked how he plans to bring homicides down further, Brown insisted the trend hinges on a continued commitment to addressing deep-seated issues affecting Chicagoans who have long been "disenfranchised." He pointed specifically to significant increases in mental health spending and the mayor’s community investment program on the South and West sides.
"They haven’t seen this kind of investment ever in this city," he said. "It’s really been a tale of two cities. … That’s what’s different — that it’s not just policing."
But he also acknowledged the department is now focused on the CTA and the two downtown police districts, where violent crime has risen sharply and has become a serious political liability ahead of next year’s mayoral election.
Police reported no arrests Monday in Anderson’s slaying.
Known to friends as Ray Ray, Anderson spent his whole life in the West Pullman area. "He loved the South Side — the 100s," his father said. "He just wanted to be a great father to his kids. He was a great person."
Anderson had spent Saturday evening at a funeral for close friend, returning to his mother’s house later that night.
"He just brought me so much joy, I feel like he was my other person," said Tatiara Austin, the mother of Anderson’s young son. "He knew how to make people smile."