Community leaders are outraged and calling for help after two children were among 13 people killed this weekend in Chicago.
On Saturday, 10-year-old Lina Nunez was shot and killed while sitting on her family’s couch in the Logan Square neighborhood. Nunez was struck in the head by a stray bullet after a gunfight erupted outside around 10 p.m. on the 3500 block of West Dickens, according to police.
“It’s unacceptable, it’s crazy, it’s immoral,” said Fr. Michael Pfleger, pastor at St. Sabina Parish in Chicago. “And this whole city should be outraged. We’re burying our babies. We’re buying our future. We’re burying our hope”
One-year-old Sincere Gaston was also shot and killed in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood on Saturday. According to police, Gaston and his mother were riding in a car around 2 p.m. when a car pulled up alongside their vehicle and a person inside began shooting, ultimately firing at least seven shots.
The boy was hit in the chest, and was later pronounced dead at St. Bernard Hospital. His mother, who drove her son to the hospital after the shooting, suffered a graze wound to her head.
Community activist Ja’mal Green is offering a $5,000 dollar reward in the death of Sincere Gaston and Earley Walker, owner of W&W Towing, has announced a $25,000 reward for information into the shooting of Gaston in conjunction with a new group of business leaders called “I’m Telling, Don’t Shoot.”
“We have decided to correlate a group of business owners, and it’s a group fed up with gun violence in our communities,” Walker said. “Something has to be done. We are tired and fed up with gun violence, and the innocent bystanders are being killed. Our kids are dying at a fast rate, and it’s time for change.”
The organization has also offered to pay for Gaston’s funeral services.
“We’ve got to do something,” Walker said. “I am absolutely ecstatic that these business owners are standing behind me to support this initiative. We need to find this killer.”
The homicides come just one week after 3-year-old Mekhi James died after he was shot in the back and killed in South Austin while riding in the car with his father.
Ald. Stephanie Coleman of the city's 16th Ward expressed her outrage and asked for the community's help.
“We are young people coming together and putting the message out that crime has no business in 16th Ward,” Coleman said. “No business in city of Chicago.”
Ald. Bob Fioretti of the city's 2nd Ward ward took to Twitter to express his concern over the violent weekend in Chicago.
“No more excuses from our political leaders,” Fioretti tweeted. “Time to stop the violence. From Sunday 6/21 to Saturday 6/27, 150 people shot, 24 fatally, in Chicago.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot also weighed in on the weekend violence with a series of tweets.
“The pain of losing a child never goes away," she said. "Today, we lost more young people to the gun violence epidemic: a 17-year-old in Humboldt Park and a 1-year-old in Englewood. As a mother, I am tired of the funerals. I am tired of burying our children."
Chicago police continue to investigate both of Saturday’s fatal shootings involving children. So far, no arrests have been made.