CHICAGO (SUN TIMES MEDIA WIRE) - For the first time in more than four years, Chicago went eight days without a fatal shooting.
The streak came to an end Monday evening in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood on the Southwest Side, where someone shot a 30-year-old man in the neck as he sat in a vehicle about 6:30 p.m. in the 6400 block of South Claremont. He died at Mount Sinai Hospital, according to Chicago Police.
Before that, the city’s last fatal shooting was reported the morning of Feb. 26 in the North Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side. James Morris, 26, was sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked minivan in the 1300 block of South Kedzie when someone in a silver car shot him repeatedly, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Morris, who lived in the same neighborhood, died at Mount Sinai, police said.
During that stretch, a man was found dead with gunshot wounds in a vacant Austin neighborhood lot about 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the 5400 block of West Ohio, but it wasn’t clear when the shooting actually happened. The victim, identified as Antoine D. Watkins, was last seen on Feb. 3, and he had been reported missing on Feb. 8. A police source said it appeared that his body had been in the lot for quite a while. Police said Watkins was 32, while the medical examiner’s office listed his age as 22.
If Watkins was fatally shot a week or more before he was found as authorities suspect, then Monday morning marked eight straight days without a fatal shooting, according to Homicide Watch Chicago records. At least 43 other people were shot over the last week in the city, but none fatally, records show.
Before last week, 2017 had been keeping pace with 2016, when nearly 800 homicides were reported, the most in over two decades.
As of Monday, there have been 103 homicides in the city this year, according to Sun-Times records. Of the victims, 98 were shot to death, four were fatally stabbed, and 2-month-old Aliya Acosta died of child abuse, authorities said. As of this date in 2016, 111 homicides had occurred in the city.
Only once since January 2013 had the city gone more than four days without a fatal shooting. Between 12:52 a.m. Dec. 18 and 2:11 p.m. Dec. 22, 2016, no one was shot to death in Chicago.
Through Feb. 26, there had been 392 shooting incidents in 2017, compared to 385 through the same date in 2016, according to Chicago Police records.
Also last week, the Thursday death of 4-month-old Janylah Mack was ruled a homicide from complications of injuries her mother suffered in an assault while pregnant with her on Oct. 31, 2016, authorities said. Devon Thomas, 22, was charged with murder and aggravated battery in November for the attack that killed his 3-year-old son, Tayveon Thomas, and left Janylah’s then-pregnant mother wounded.