Chicago Violence

McCarthy’s Wife Says Chicago Shootings Impact the Couple’s Married Life

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The wife of Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy offered insight into the personal impact of Chicago violence on her husband as well as on their marriage, saying every shooting has an effect on them.

In an exclusive interview with DNAinfo, Kristin Barnette McCarthy, a personal injury trial attorney for Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, said every shooting that happens in Chicago takes up "a lot" of her husband's time.

"If we are at the same place at that time, it can impact what I am doing, or what (we) had planned to do together, but I completely understand what the priority is and that things can change from one second to another," Barnette McCarthy said. "There is really no separation of work from our life together because our careers are more of a lifestyle, so it's something we're used to and that we signed up for." 

The couple has been married for close to a year now, but in the past several months, Chicago has seen countless violent crimes with heartbreaking results, including the "targeted" shooting that killed 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee last week.

"I think most people would agree that Garry has one of the hardest jobs on the planet," Barnette McCarthy said. "The first thing that he wakes up to every morning is his review of how many people have been shot or killed or otherwise victimized overnight — it is awful, and that is just the start of his day." 

The recent spate of violence has hurt McCarthy's reputation in the city and undermined his policing methods. Two consecutive weekends in September made headlines for the sheer number of shootings that happened, as more than 50 people were shot across the city each weekend. Later that month, the violence continued into the work week when 14 people were shot, six fatally, within 15 hours between Monday, Sept. 28, and Tuesday, Sept. 29.

In response to the uptick in violence, the City Council's Black Caucus held a public meeting calling for the firing of McCarthy in October. McCarthy was not fired, however, and he later said he had no plans of leaving his post.

"The shootings in Chicago are why Garry came here, and why he came here with tried-and-true methods that were successful in other places," Barnette McCarthy told DNAinfo as she reiterated the couple's desire to stay in Chicago. "There are still components of his plan that need to be put into place, which would transform Chicago, but you can ask him more about that."

Although Barnette McCarthy stressed that her husband's job consumes his life, she said they also try to plan "fun things" together as a couple to alleviate some of the stress. She said they went paintballing for his birthday one year and try to work out together before work.

Barnette McCarthy also shared some praise for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who stood by McCarthy as members of the City Council called for his removal, saying both McCarthy and Emanuel are only human and people should remember that.

"Most people do not know how it feels to know that when the phone rings in the middle of the night, it is not a matter of whether something bad happened, it is a matter of how bad it is. ... It's important to realize that Garry is a person, and the mayor is a person," Barnette McCarthy said. "Sometimes I don't feel like people consider that before they say things. The mayor works extraordinarily hard; Garry works extremely hard. Both of their goals are to make the city a better place."

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