Sometime around dawn Tuesday, Sheridan Freeman was inside a home in West Pullman when there was gunfire and the 23-year-old was shot dead, becoming the 800th homicide victim recorded in Chicago this year.
Crossing that deadly mark was common in the 1990s but has been rare since then. Murders have been increasing in the city for two straight years now, and shootings have been rising at an even faster rate, according to Sun-Times data.
Shelton was killed on a block where there had been a shooting just the day before, in a neighborhood that is among the deadliest in Chicago despite being targeted for extra resources by City Hall.
Police have released few details about Freeman’s death. He was shot around 6:30 a.m. inside a small wood frame home in the 12000 block of South Stewart Avenue, less than a mile from where he lived.
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Freeman had a 1-year-old son and was a budding videographer who would often film his brother rapping, his mother said.
“He was fun-loving, very smart and talented,” Diane Archer said. “He made videos and wanted to go do film school. But time ran out.”
A day before Freeman was shot, a 29-year-old man was wounded in a drive-by shooting while walking down the same block at 3:15 a.m., police said.
Police reported no arrests in either shooting.
Shootings and murders rose dramatically in Chicago at the start of 2020, rising 50% over the year before. The pace picked up this year.
Chicago logged 784 homicides in 2020 and 552 in 2019, according to medical examiner data. There were 806 homicides in 2016.
At least 4,328 people have been shot in Chicago so far this year, according to police data, compared to 4,013 in 2020 and 2,556 in 2019 during the same periods.
More than 50% of the violence has occurred in 15 of Chicago’s 77 community areas.
Those 15 areas have been targeted with increased violence prevention spending in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s “Our City, Our Safety” plan, introduced in 2019. It funds street outreach, affordable housing, job training, health and wellness, community development.
But since violent crime began rising here and nationally in early 2020, most of the areas targeted with extra spending have seen an increase in shootings and murders.
One of those targeted areas is West Pullman, which has seen one of the steepest increases in violence. Murders have jumped 450% since 2019 in West Pullman, from six murders in 2019 to 34 this year, according to a Sun-Times analysis of city data.
The West Side has some of the deadliest neighborhoods. At least 69 people have been killed in Austin this year, 43 in Lawndale. Humboldt Park, like West Pullman, has recorded 34 murders.
On the South Side, Greater Grand Crossing and Auburn Gresham each have 38 murders; South Shore, 37; Englewood, 32; and Roseland, 26.
Eleven community areas in Chicago have recorded no murders this year, most of them on the North or Far Northwest sides.