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City Leaders Say Politics, Economics, Unrest, And Mistrust Of Police Have Created Perfect Storm For Gun Violence In Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) -- As Chicago grapples with another violent weekend in which two children were among those killed, city leaders called the violence a symptom of politics, economics, and growing unrest.

As CBS 2's Jeremy Ross reported Sunday night, Chicago Police have been following up on several murders of young victims – and their union said it is getting more difficult to solve cases due to community distrust. And the challenges don't stop there.

"We should be outraged as a city," said the Rev. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church.

One-year-old Sincere Gaston was shot and killed in a car in Englewood on Saturday, while hours later, a stray bullet took the life of 10-year-old Lena Nunez in Logan Square.

Sincere Gaston
Sincere Gaston (Credit: Legal Help Firm)
Lena Nunez
Lena Nunez (Family Photo)

An 8-year-old was also shot and wounded as the unintended victim of gun violence in West Englewood on Saturday.

They were the young casualties in a spike of violence that has city and community leaders on edge.

"It's unacceptable, and nobody can get a pass on this," Pfleger said.

"It's just ignorant people who have no consideration for human life just spraying bullets wherever they feel the need, like it's a video game," said Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara.

Catanzara, whose union represents rank-and-file Chicago Police officers, said politicians and law enforcement need to keep violent offenders behind bars, rather than allowing them the opportunity to get out and reoffend.

Since June 17, at least two dozen people under the age of 18 have been shot in Chicago.

Catanzara called the killing and wounding of the city's youngest tragic, and an unlucky stretch of victims being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"I've never, in my 45 years here, have seen as much despair and hopelessness as I see right now," Pfleger said.

Pfleger said the coronavirus pandemic, recession, escalating unemployment, and demonstrations against police brutality, are providing the perfect storm to churn the tide of Chicago violence.

He said protests have resulted in more distrust of police, and police said there is less cooperation solving cases.

It is possible those factors are impacting law enforcement's ability to prevent violent crimes against eh city's youngest.

"Our babies are becoming roadkill in this city," Pfleger said.

As of Sunday evening, at least 14 people had been killed and 59 had been shot in total over the weekend.

As for the recent violence against the young victims, multiple groups have offered up tens of thousands of dollars for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible – in hopes that witnesses will come forward.

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