Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown delivered his impassioned plea to the public on Monday morning, as the extended violent weekend nears a close. At least eight of the dozens of shooting victims reported so far were under 18 – ages 4, 12, 13, 14, 15, 15, 16 and 17, the Chicago Police Department has released so far. At least 53 people had been shot as of Sunday night.
“This is about the safety of our babies,” Brown said during the Monday news conference.
The youngest victim, identified by FOX 32 as Mychal Moultry, was getting his hair cut inside an apartment in the Woodlawn neighborhood just before 9 p.m. local time when he was struck by two bullets fired through the window, police and officials have said. He suffered gunshot wounds to his head and was rushed to an area hospital, but could not be saved.
“You’re harming this community. You’re harming these families.”
Mychal was the second 4-year-old innocent bystander wounded in Chicago in the past week, police have said. On Tuesday, Sept. 1, a girl was struck when she was caught in the crossfire of a gunfight between shooters in two vehicles in Englewood, police have said. Her injuries were considered non-life-threatening.
Police are seeking any witnesses or information related to the senseless shooting.
Brown described how there were typically three circumstances in which children have been wounded or injured by gunfire, such as when they are struck but a bullet meant for another target; when they are mistaken for someone else; or when “the targeted person is visiting a relative during a holiday or doing a family gathering, and they’re being targeted and the family members are being shot as innocent bystanders.”
Speaking from a personal standpoint, “too high a number” of offenders and victims are people of color, said Brown, who is Black.
“And I have family members that I don’t invite over for family gatherings just because of some of the issues that come with that family member that is living a life of crime,” he continued. “I would just … encourage you as a family to protect your children from people in the family that are on the wrong side of the law.”
And speaking directly to the criminal offenders, he asked: “Why are you continuing to be around young people, our children?”
“That’s on you,” he added.
He urged such offenders to “stay away from children if you want to live that life.”
“You’re harming this community. You’re harming these families,” he added. “And we will be relentless in pursuing you as an offender.”