WEEK IN REVIEW: In the least-violent week in months, 8 people were killed, but two might’ve been self-defense

By JEFF MAYES
Homicide Watch Chicago
CrimeScene-LCN-040213-1.jpg
It may not seem like much of a victory, but only eight people were killed in Chicago last week, making it one of the least violent weeks of the entire year.

Statistics compiled by Homicide Watch Chicago show that there have only been four weeks in 2017 when less than 8 people were shot, and the last time it happened was way back in May.

Two of those killing may not be considered homicides by police, but rather cases of self-defense.

A 33-year-old man was killed Sunday morning in a domestic-related shooting in the Clearing neighborhood on the Southwest Side, and police seem to be treating it as a case of self-defense.

At 5:18 a.m., a 30-year-old woman was being battered by Damien Hernandez in the 6900 block of West 65th Street when she pulled out a gun and shot him three times, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene. The woman was initially taken into custody and police said charges were pending. However, on Tuesday, police said the woman had been released and no charges had been filed.

Similarly, after a Wisconsin man died Sunday night after he was shot the previous day in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side, a person of ointerest was released without charges.
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WEEK IN REVIEW: 14 more dead as murder total passes 400, including mom killed walking with 4-year-old son

By JEFF MAYES
Homicide Watch Chicago

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin


At least 14 people were killed last week as Chicago passed the 400-homicide mark for the year nearly a week ahead of last year’s pace, when the homicides numbers were the highest in two decades. The victims included a mother shot while walking with her young son, and a man stabbed to death in a luxury apartment, a crime which has sparked a nationwide manhunt.

When Kennatay K. Leavell was shot to death early Friday near the former Cabrini-Green public housing projects on the Near North Side, it was the city’s 400th homicide of the year.

But before the day was over, two more homicides had been reported that happened earlier, and by Aug. 1, the date when the 400th homicide of 2016 was reported, there had been at least 410 this year, according to Sun-Times data.

Add in five people shot dead by on-duty Chicago Police officers; the deaths of 10 people ruled homicides due to wounds suffered in years past; four people charged with reckless homicide over motor vehicle-involved fatalities; and a man charged with murder in a case where autopsy results are still pending, and the number grows even higher.

Of those killings, about 380 have been with guns, the data shows. Fifteen people were stabbed to death, nine were abused or assaulted, two were strangled, three were intentionally hit by vehicles, and one was forced to ingest bleach.

The total included a woman killed in a shooting that also injured her 4-year-old son and a man Friday evening in the West Side Austin neighborhood. The shooting happened at 5:19 p.m. in the 5200 block of West Kamerling, police said. Nikia Betts, 28, was walking down an alley with her son and the man when shots rang out, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. She was shot in the head and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where she died at 5:54 p.m., according to police and the medical examiner’s office. The boy and 19-year-old man were both shot in the arm, police said. They were taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition.
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WEEK IN REVIEW: 15 more people killed in Chicago, including two teenagers and a 70-year-old retiree

By JEFF MAYES
Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin


Leroy Moore was a 70-year-old retiree who lived on the Far South Side. Damijwan Bonds and Anthony White were 18-year-olds who lived on the South Side. You might not think they had much in common, and the likely didn’t. Except they were both homicide victims in Chicago.

The three were among 15 more people who died violently in the city last week, bringing the total ever closer to 400 for the year (a landmark reached on Thursday night) and ahead of last year’s total of nearly 800, highest in two decades.

Moore was walking home from a store about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday in the 7100 block of South State when two cars sped past with people inside firing shots at each other, Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. Moore, of Jeffery Manor, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.

Moore’s nephew, former UIC head basketball coach Howard Moore, said on social media that he was “stunned and devastated” when he learned his uncle was killed in “gang crossfire.”

Bonds man shot to death Sunday night in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. He suffered gunshot wounds to both legs about 9 p.m. in the 5400 block of South Damen, according to police and the medical examiner’s office. He showed up at Holy Cross Hospital, where he was pronounced dead an hour later, authorities said. He lived about three blocks away from the shooting.
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WEEK IN REVIEW: From kids to seniors, Marines to rappers to activists, 23 more people killed in Chicago

By JEFF MAYES
Homicide Watch Chicago

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin


They ranged from young children to retired seniors, from retired Marines to drill rappers to anti-violence activists. They lived on the West Side, the South Side, and the East Side.

The only thing they had in common? They were among 23 people killed in Chicago last week, one of the more violent weeks of the year as the city surpassed last year’s homicide total and neared the 400 mark for the year (385 as July 21, compared to 369 a year ago).

The youngest victim was a 10-year-old boy killed in a shooting that also left a man critically wounded Friday evening in East Side, Gustavo Garcia was in an SUV with his stepfather and a 31-year-old man at 11:13 p.m., traveling west in the 3500 block of East 97th Street, Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.

A gray car pulled up next to them and someone inside fired shots. Gustavo was shot in the back and was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, where he died, authorities said. He lived in the South Chicago neighborhood. The man was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was in critical condition, according to police. He was shot in the back, face and chest.

The oldest victim was 60-year-old retired Marine shot to death during an attempted robbery Saturday morning in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side. Robert Sharpe was walking to the bus on the way to a dialysis treatment at 4:55 a.m. in the 3200 block of West Franklin when an armed male confronted him and demanded his money, according to police and the medical examiner’s office.
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WEEK IN REVIEW: At least 15 killed in Chicago, including eight in last 10 hours of bloody holiday weekend

By JEFF MAYES
Homicide Watch Chicago

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin


The long Fourth of July weekend went out with a deadly bang last week, with at least 8 people killed in the last 10 hours of the four-day holiday period.

For the period from late Friday, JUne 30, through Wednesday morning, July 5, at least 12 people were killed and 87 others wounded in shootings across Chicago.

Last year’s Independence Day weekend, which was one day shorter than this year’s, ended with 66 people shot, four of them fatally—a total that actually stoked cautious optimism at the time as it marked the lowest death toll for the July 4 weekend in nearly a decade.

Eight of the people who died this year were among 36 people shot across the city in an 10-hour span of violence between about 5 p.m. Tuesday and 3 a.m. Wednesday.

  • It started with a man struck by a stray bullet Tuesday evening in the Riverdale neighborhood on the Far South Side. Witnesses told investigators that 21-year-old Aaron Gordon was shot by someone firing from a light-colored sedan into another vehicle at 5:18 p.m. in the 200 block of East 132nd St., according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Gordon was sitting in a vehicle parked nearby when he was shot in his face, police said. He was not thought to be the intended target. He was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead at 6:39 p.m. He lived in south suburban County Club Hills.
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WEEK IN REVIEW: At least 22 more people killed, including 9 in four separate multiple-fatality shootings

By JEFF MAYES
Homicide Watch Chicago

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin


There were more homicides in Chicago in 2016 than in the previous two decades. And after 22 more people were killed in the city last week, 2017 is shaping up to be an even deadlier year.

As of July 6, 2016, there had been 341 homicides reported, according to Chicago Sun-Times statistics. As of July 6, 2017, there have been 349.

Of the fatal shootings reported last week, four of the incidents resulted in two or more people being killed, including a triple-fatal homicide in the South Side Englewood neighborhood.

That was one of only three incidents for which suspects have been arrested and charged.

Two men are being held without bond, charged with fatally shooting the three men Friday night. Timothy Gordon, 19, and Jayden Dorsey, 21, both face three counts of first-degree murder, according to Chicago Police.

Cook County prosecutors said the pair walked up to an apartment building in the 5700 block of South Wells about 8:50 p.m. and opened fire, spraying the building with more than 40 shots.

Javon Jackson, 30, was struck eight times and died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Friday night. Sedrick Ringer, 50, suffered nine gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene. And the next day, relatives came to the house and found John Hunter, 52, dead in his apartment with a wound to his thigh, authorities said. Police found 43 shell casings outside the house.
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Week in review: 14 more people killed, keeping city on pace to equal or top last year’s horrific homicide total

By JEFF MAYES
Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin

Federal official announced this week they will be sending another 20 ATF Police officers to Chicago to help slow the wave of gun violence that does not seem to have slowed from last year’s deadly pace.

Another 14 people died last week and the city’s homicide total stood at 330 as of Friday morning. That means Chicago is actually one homicide ahead of last year, when murder total through June 30 was 329.

The city went on to record over 780 murders last year, the most in nearly 20 years, and while the number of shootings is down in 2017, the number of homicides is not.

Whether the extra federal help will show any significant results has yet to be seen, but the city is now entering that time of year which historically shows the highest number of homicides.

In shootings last week:

  • A 28-year-old man died two days after he was wounded in a shooting late Friday in the West Side Austin neighborhood. About 11:55 p.m. Friday, officers responding to a call of shots fired in the 5800 block of West Ohio found Ira Johnson lying on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound to the head, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Johnson, who lived in the same neighborhood, was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he died at 10:17 p.m. Sunday.
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WEEK IN REVIEW: 23 killed, including 3-year-old girl killed by her dad; elderly couple slain by son, on Father’s Day

By JEFF MAYES
Homicide Watch Chicago

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin


The victims ranged in age from 3 years old to 78. Several of them were teenagers, while three of them were in their 60s or older. Six of them died on Father’s Day, including the toddler who was allegedly beaten to death by her father; and an elderly couple allegedly beaten to death by their sons.

And as Chicago’s homicide total hit 300 for the year with the final murder of the week, there were fatal shootings on the South, Southwest and West sides, and even downtown in the Streeterville neighborhood.

Father’s Day was especially bloody.

It started with the killing of a 3-year-old Jazebel Aleman early Sunday in her Little Village neighborhood home on the Southwest Side.

Two days later, her father, 26-year-old Eduardo Aleman, was charged with first-degree murder, according to Chicago Police and Cook County prosecutors.

Officers responded about 1:10 a.m. to reports of the toddler not breathing in an apartment in the 2500 block of South Homan, police said. Jazebel was pronounced dead at the scene minutes later, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
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WEEK IN REVIEW: At least 19 killed in Chicago, including 12-year-old girl allegedly killed by mom’s ex-boyfriend

By JEFF MAYES
Homicide Watch Chicago

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin


As the temperatures started to heat up last week, the homicide total in CHicago jumped to 19 last week, matching the high for any week so far in 2017.

And the year continues to keep pace with 2016’s total of about 780 homicides, the highest total in the city in two decades. As of Wednesday, there had been 284 homicides in the city so far this year, exactly matching the total for the same date in 2016.

And two more of the dead were victims of domestic violence, including a 12-year-old girl brutally murdered by her mother’s ex-boyfriend, a felon whom she called “Daddy.”

But he is now charged with beating and stabbing the popular girl to death Sunday night in the Sheridan Park neighborhood on the North Side. Alexis Stubbs suffered multiple stab wounds and blunt trauma about 9:45 p.m. in the 4600 block of North Beacon, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. She was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead an hour later.

On Monday, authorities charged John Singleton with first-degree murder. The 31-year-old was ordered held without bond on Tuesday. He had pleaded guilty to aggravated domestic battery for choking Alexis’ mother in 2014, and had just been released from prison in April.
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WEEK IN REVIEW: At least 19 people were killed, three in domestic violence situations, last week in Chicago

By JEFF MAYES
Homicide Watch Chicago

In one of the bloodiest weeks of the first half of the year, a total of 19 people were murdered in Chicago last week, including a visually-impaired teenager, a man shot to death by his stepson, and two young women who were the victims in murder-suicides.

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin


The week started off with five fatal shootings on Memorial Day, the shooting of the physicaly and mentally handicapped teen, shot while playing basketball at a park across the street from his home.

Jervon Morris, 18, was shot in the head about 5:40 p.m. in the 9800 block of South Wallace, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The special needs student and graduate of Curie Metro High School, lost most of his eyesight as a very young boy, and had other physical and mental impairments. But he loved to play basketball (by sound) and volunteer for kids’ aprogram at the park across the street from his Longwood Manor home.

But he was in the park when he apprently got caught in the crossfire between gang members and was struck in the head, police said. Morris, who lived about a block away, was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:58 p.m.

Two of the other holiday shootings were domestic in nature.

A man and woman were found shot to death Monday morning in a murder-suicide in the South Side Bronzeville neighborhood. Tiara “Chiquita” Goodman, 25; and 32-year-old Marcel Davis were found about 10:50 a.m. in the hallway of her apartment building in the 2900 block of South State, according to police and the medical examiner’s office. Both had been shot in the head.
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