CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson called the Memorial Day Weekend violence “intolerable” in a Tuesday statement, after 11 people were killed and 45 injured, the highest three-day death toll since 2015, when 12 people were killed.
“The violence our city experienced this weekend is intolerable,” Johnson said. “It produced pain and trauma that devastated communities across Chicago, and my heart breaks for everyone affected. That’s why as mayor, I am committed to leveraging every single resource at our disposal to protect every single life in our city.”
In addition to a heavy police presence to guard public safety, the city also deployed a team of “Peacekeepers” — a violence-prevention team meant to de-escalate and quell violence at a neighborhood level.
However, on Friday, a man in a “Peacekeeper” vest was arrested after assisting a group of residents in pulling a man from a car, then beating and robbing him.
Mayor Brandon Johnson spent the weekend attending neighborhood gatherings, including playing cards with residents as part of his anti-violence initiative, but those measures appeared to fall short.
A woman was stabbed to death in an alley in the 5700 block of West Chicago Avenue, near the mayor’s home. A 36-year-old man was shot in about five blocks away, in the 700 block of North Pine Avenue.
“This holiday weekend, thousands of police officers, first responders, city workers, business leaders, organizers, faith leaders, and violence interrupters tirelessly dedicated themselves to keeping Chicago safe,” Johnson said, according to The Center Square. “I offer my deep gratitude to all those involved. We have much more work to do, but the work performed by these individuals this weekend is the foundation for how we will ultimately secure safety together.”
Among the victims were two 2-year-olds who were injured in separate incidents, both playing with firearms that discharged.
“The violence is all over the place in Chicago, and that goes to show you that there is no rhyme or reason,” Tio Hardiman of the community group Violence Interrupters told The Center Square. “Some people just believe that violence is the only way out for them.”
Hardiman said the city needs to offer jobs to young people in an effort to give purpose to their lives and keep them from a life of violence.
“If we do not address this epidemic of gun violence as a public health emergency or a public health issue, we may miss the opportunity to really change the landscape overall,” Hardiman said.
Hardiman also said police need more authority to catch criminals, such as foot and car chases.
“Those policies [against chases] need to be reversed,” he said.