Desperate Chicagoans demand gun violence solutions

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - After another bloody weekend in sections of the South Side, the search is on more than ever for ways to stop the violence.

The attention is mainly focused on two incidents in which gunmen shot a total of ten, killing five. Among the wounded survivors was an 11-month old infant. His mother and grandmother were not so lucky, as bullets killed both of them. That was at 53rd and Aberdeen, in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

A short distance away near Fuller Park, gunmen shot five more, killing three of them at 42nd and Stewart.

It's obvious by now that there is no easy answer, and no single solution.

On Tuesday night, FOX 32 met with folks near Fuller Park and in Back of the Yards. They talked about the solutions long term and short term, and about the ongoing heartbreak of it all.

“That's what happened to Lyana. She was trying to check on her loved ones,” said Dwayne Toney, who witnessed three of the killings.

Toney said 22-year old Lyana Northern probably would not have been killed at 42nd and Stewart, except that she ran to help the other four who'd been shot, including suspected gang members who may have been the two gunmen's intended targets. Witnesses said the gunfire erupted as the group was commemorating the death 12 years ago of Lyana's cousin, Robert.

FOX 32: In some neighborhoods, kids are born into a gang?

“Basically you are, because if you don't get in with what's here in your neighborhood, you're going to end up with tragedy because they don't like you because you live over here. And you don't like them, because they live over there,” Toney said.

“There are some families that have third and fourth generation gang members in their families,” said Craig Chico, President & CEO of Back of the Yards neighborhood council. “Gotta give 'em some alternatives, some options. Gotta help 'em with education, with jobs.”

FOX 32: There are jobs out there?

“There's a ton of jobs out there. Unfortunately, they're not the high-paying jobs. And maybe in some situations in the gang culture you can make more money faster and not get up at six in the morning,” Chico said.

Alderman Pat Dowell called on Fuller Park's mostly African-American residents to end the "code of silence" and cooperate more closely with police. But she said some have a deep distrust of law enforcement.

“And I know that can be difficult to do when people have to speak to a police force that is 73 percent non-African-American, or speak to detectives where the detective force is 83 percent non-African-American,” Dowell said.

Ald. Dowell added she wants more police assigned to her Ward and that she does believe cracking down on the small things helps prevent bigger wrongdoing. She singled out an Officer Atkins, saying he's helped clean up a stretch of 47th Street where intoxicated men selling single cigarettes had scared off some shoppers.