Chicago Surpasses 2011 Murder Total

South Side killing marks 436th homicide of the year

It's a record Chicagoans aren't proud of breaking.

Carlos Alexander was shot and killed in the 7900 block of South Escanaba Monday, marking the 436th homicide of the year, one more killing than all of last year -- with 63 days left to go in 2012.

And by the end of the day, the total rose to 438.

The Chicago Tribune reports that 37-year-old Walter McLemore was shot to death at 1:20 p.m. on the 1100 block of West Wilson Avenue, and 36-year-old Elizabeth Pabon was fatally shot at 6:20 p.m. in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

The shooting came just hours after former CTA bus driver Fitz Bariffe was killed.

Bariffe immigrated to the United States from his native Jamaica four decades ago, raising a family in north suburban Skokie.

In recent years, he had been living in a rented house in the 9400 block of South LaSalle Street in Chicago.

But on Sunday night, an assailant shot Bariffe to death in that home, making him homicide victim number 435, tying last year’s total.
"Well obviously we are very disappointed," police Supt. Garry McCarthy told NBC Chicago. "You can’t manage murder. One murder is too many, and if we ended the year with 400, that’s still 400 too many."

Still, McCarthy argued that homicides in October were actually down when compared with the same month last year.

"I’ve said it all year long. We got way behind at the beginning of the year. And the fact is, this is going to overshadow the progress that we’re making," he said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel echoed those sentiments, endorsing the police department’s tactics, while conceding that the murder number was “not good”.

"Overall crime is down 9 percent in the city," Emanuel said at a press conference at Lowell Elementary School in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, noting that the city’s crime rate "has seen the largest drop ever."

"The most important thing I want is our children to be thinking about their studies when they come to school and not their safety. And I will not rest, and I will not let anyone working for the city and working for the residents of the city of Chicago rest until we achieve that milestone," the mayor said.

In the Princeton Park neighborhood where Bariffe died, his daughters shook their heads in disbelief.

"I can’t understand why someone would do this to him," said Yvette Bariffe. "He was 68 years old and he loved everybody."

Her sister Suzette agreed and said if robbery was the motive, the killer should have just asked for what he wanted.

"He didn’t have anything. If you wanted anything, you could have just took it," she said. "His attitude was a typical Jamaican: 'No problem!' You know, nothing was ever a problem to my dad. You seldom saw him get upset."

Recently, Bariffe had installed a fence around his home to stop drug dealers and gang members from congregating on his front porch.

"This is a block where the drug dealers and gang members will come by and they will just prop themselves up on your step," said neighbor Keith Lucks, who expressed disbelief that anyone would want to harm a next door neighbor known for hosting barbecues and shoveling the walks of seniors.

"He was a genuine dude," Lucks said. "Anything you wanted, he’d give it to you."

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