An eight-year-old girl was among those killed during a violent Chicago Labor Day weekend, police say. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office has identified the girl as Dajore Wilson.
CBS Chicago reports at least 53 people were shot in the city, eight of them fatally, and another person was stabbed to death as year-to-date homicides soar. Another person suspected of stabbing a man was killed by officers during his arrest when police said he tried to attack a sergeant with a butcher knife, the station reports.
Dajore Wilson was inside an SUV with three other occupants, including her mother, stopped at a traffic light on Monday evening, Chicago Police Chief of Operations Brian McDermott said. A car that was directly behind the vehicle waited for the light to turn green, then opened fire, made a U-turn and fled, McDermott said.
The girl was rushed to University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Two other people inside the car were wounded by the gunfire and the child’s mother was injured when the car crashed into another vehicle and then a tree, McDermott said. Chicago fire officials told the Associated Press a 31-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman wounded were in critical condition, with each suffering a gunshot wound to the back.
Resident David Johnson told CBS Chicago he heard multiple gunshots from a block away and came over to see a child on the ground.
“Everybody was running towards the little girl that was laying on the ground — trying to help her; trying to help everybody else that was shot in the vehicle,” Johnson said.
Police on Tuesday released a photo of the suspect’s vehicle, which McDermott said was believed to be a black Dodge Charger.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Chicago Police superintendent David Brown urged anyone with information to come forward.
“Getting notified about another child being a victim of gun violence is one of the most painful experiences, not only as a law enforcement professional, but also as a parent,” Brown said. “We are once again asking for the community’s help and partnership to bring this killer to justice.”
Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said there is an ongoing gang conflict in the area and investigators believe someone else in the car the girl was riding in — or someone believed to be in the car — was the intended target of the shooting.
The other victims over the weekend included a 36-year-old man killed by a family member, a 36-year-old woman shot dead in an Englewood home, a 26-year-old man fatally shot during a large gathering, and a 26-year-old man shot in the head when someone fired into a crowd outside a housing development, reports CBS Chicago. A 38-year-old man was shot in the back as he tried to flee two assailants, a 22-year-old man was shot dead inside a car and a 21-year-old man was fatally shot in the neck by assailants who opened fire into a car he was riding in, the station reports.
A four-year-old child and at least four teens were among those wounded by gunfire, according to CBS Chicago.
Murders in Chicago have spiked this year, according to police data, with the department recording 524 murders year to date in 2020 compared to 345 for the same time in 2019. Homicides had previously been on the decline in the city since 2016, a year whenbut the grim year-to-date homicide number in 2020 is now about on par with that deadly year. Warm holiday weekends in the summer typically see spikes in violence.
Despite the year-to-date surge, Brown cited “tenuous progress” with a 50% reduction in homicides and 18% reduction in shootings over the past seven weeks. Brown, who took the helm as Chicago police superintendent in April, said he re-organized the department to include two city-wide community safety teams and a critical incident response team to help combat violence that began to spike nationwide in May, June and July.
Brown also said police have worked to take illegal guns off the streets in Chicago, seizing 7,303 guns so far this year and 201 over Labor Day weekend alone, and called for tougher penalties for gun offenders. He said the department is working with federal prosecutors to ensure tough consequences for gang-related crimes in hopes of warding off future criminal activity.
“It sends a message to others who might commit violence that this will be you,” Brown said. “These 15-year sentences, 20-year sentences in the federal system are preventative measures as well as consequential ones for those who are convicted and brought to justice.”