The level of gun violence in Chicago, which has caused shock waves nationally, is continuing with eight people having been shot in the nation’s third largest city in a 24-hour period that ended Friday morning, including one that ended with the death of a 15-year-old boy.
Chicago police said that the teenager, Patrick Sykes, was shot several times early Thursday afternoon. They said that witnesses offered conflicting versions of what occurred, with the shooters having been either on bicycles or on foot.
Two people were taken into custody for questioning, but they were released without any charges being filed, police said.
The 24-hour period of gun violence also included the shooting of an 18-year-old man, three women and several others.
The high level of violence in the month of May came shortly after the Chicago Police Department announced that crime in the city fell 8 percent in the first quarter of 2013, compared with the same period last year, and 15 percent from the same period of 2011.
Still, there are great concerns about violent crime in Chicago, where Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old honor student, who performed at President Obama’s inauguration, was killed by a bullet while standing in a South Side playground.
Chicago’s murder rate is widely considered to be fueled by the drug wars that are fought between the city’s network of gangs. The homicide rate has been largely confined to the city’s south and west areas, African-American bastions of Chicago.
And in 2012, the number of murders climbed, with homicides increasing by 16 percent over the previous year.
“Hopefully, this should be a reminder that the citizens of the city have not been able to get things under control,” said Damon Stewart, an attorney and activist who works with youth in Chicago, speaking with BET.com.
“If you really want to protect a child, families and communities have a role,” said Stewart, who is working with the Pendleton family on a foundation to honor their daughter. “And we have to be even more involved.”
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(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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