Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson searched for answers Tuesday at a press conference, held in the aftermath of a Memorial Day Weekend that saw 69 shootings, and six deaths from the injuries. The bloody weekend brought to a close a month in which Chicago saw 66 murders from guns and close to 400 people being shot — the most shootings in the city for a single month since 1995.
In addressing the Memorial-Day Weekend violence, Johnson called many of the shootings “random with no rhyme or reason.”
Johnson, who was appointed superintendent in March by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, ran through a list of challenges he says making stopping the crime more difficult, including weak gun laws in neighboring states, an endemic gang culture, social media fueling rivalries, broken homes and premature parents, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Teenagers with kids and no education produce more teenagers who have kids, and the cycle continues,” he said at the press conference.
Johnson also called the judicial system “broken and overwhelmed,” citing that violent criminals who serve less than half their sentences while nonviolent offenders are too often locked up “for longer than they deserve or we can afford.,” according to the Tribune.
Johnson, a 28-year police veteran, next turned to the challenges of fighting crime in the age of social media, where he said young people would often “taunt each other, brag about their crimes and dare others to confront them.”
The 66th and final fatal shooting of the month, 15-year-old Fabien Lavinder, who was killed while sitting in a car on the city’s Southeast Side, was tragic reminder of who the victims of these crimes are – often the young and innocent.
Fabien’s family told police Fabien he had been out Tuesday night in Calumet City with friends, who was dropping off one of the friends when the shooting occurred. The family said they had no idea why anyone would shoot him, according to the Tribune.
“My baby is gone. Oh, my God, my baby is gone,” his mother Ericka Wright,45, told the paper.
“It really does make me sick,” Fabian’s mother said. “I want to leave Chicago. “We are ready to go.”