CHICAGO - Chicago’s top cop is calling on parents and families to take steps to protect their children from gang and street violence.
Already this Labor Day weekend, eight children 17-years-old and under have been shot — and one has died.
Police Superintendent David Brown said they all appear to be unintended targets and that it’s incumbent on parents to keep their children away from family members or friends who may be gang members and targeted.
"I’m not trying to vilify the victim," Brown said. "But these innocent young children should not be the byproduct of your criminal behavior."
Superintendent Brown said the vast majority of children shot in Chicago are not the intended target, but innocent bystanders when other family members are targeted.
Brown spoke Monday out of frustration after eight children were shot during the Labor Day weekend in Chicago, including 4-year-old Mychal Moultry, who was visiting family when he was shot in the head and killed after a flurry of bullets blasted through the window of a Woodlawn home Friday night.
A 13-year-old boy was shot in the basement of a house in the 8500 block of South Marquette.
Superintendent Brown said families have to make tough decisions about who they allow to be around their children.
"I love some members of my family, but they’re not coming to my house for Christmas because of the life they live. And I make that very clear. And that’s the kind of tough love many of our families in the community have to exhibit," the top cop said.
"What you’re seeing is the people who have guns have absolutely no regard for the sanctity of life," Lightfoot said at an earlier news conference. "And unfortunately our children are becoming victims."
Police also say they’ve cracked down on crime in the River North neighborhood after several high-profile attacks, including a woman stabbed to death in a bank and two men beaten by a mob in the middle of State Street.
"We’re conducting outdoor roll calls in those areas," said CPD Chief of Operations Brian McDermott. "There was a substantial increase in police presence in the River North area throughout the weekend."
Chicago police say at least 261 juveniles have been shot in Chicago so far in 2021 and 41 of them have died.