CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot wiped away tears Wednesday while talking about the charges and circumstances surrounding the shooting that killed 8-year-old Melissa Ortega in Little Village this past weekend.
Many at the news conference on the charges were calling for a renewed effort to combat violence involving children. It was also a rare appearance in the same room for Mayor Lightfoot, police Supt. David Brown, and Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx.
As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, the question now is whether this means the officials have found common ground in the fight against crime – given recent rancor with Lightfoot and Brown on one side and Foxx on the other.
Melissa's murder definitely galvanized the superintendent, mayor, and state's attorney to show the public they are committed to fighting crime. They said it is a continuation of cooperation behind the scenes.
But past rhetoric indicates there were big divides.
"This is an opportunity for us to demonstrate how we work behind the scenes publicly," Lightfoot said.
But this show of unity comes months after some very public finger-pointing between the mayor and state's attorney – in particular when it comes to how crimes and criminals are charged and prosecuted. One example involved a West Side shootout in October that terrorized a neighborhood – with Mayor Lightfoot reacting harshly when Foxx initially announced there would be no charges in the case despite witnesses and other evidence.
"I'd like (Foxx) to explain, because I can't explain it," Lightfoot said at the time.
Foxx fired back at the time that there was not yet sufficient evidence to file charges in the case, and said top brass at the Chicago Police Department agrees with her assessment of the case, saying it was "inappropriate" for Lightfoot to discuss the facts of the case in public while it remains under investigation.
"I was quite honestly mortified by what happened yesterday, particularly because the mayor, as a former prosecutor, knows that what she did yesterday was inappropriate," Foxx said in October.
Noting that the officials have lobbed criticism at one another over the past several months, Kozlov asked at the Wednesday news conference what the united front now signifies.
"I think I've ben saying for the last several years that we have been working collaboratively with the Chicago Police Department," Foxx said.
Foxx, Lightfoot, and Brown also said they all felt compelled to appear together because of how the Little Village community came together to help police find Melissa's killers.
"So I think you'll see more opportunities for us to demonstrate a unity of purpose," Lightfoot said. "We're not going to agree on every issue, but we do agree that violence needs to be addressed in a holistic way."
But does such a holistic approach mean violent offenders like the 16-year-old suspect in Melissa's murder will be back on the streets soon after an arrest? And will all three agree on how those cases are handled? Foxx's office has been the subject of much criticism on that issue.
Foxx did not directly address that criticism on Wednesday, saying the discussion needs simultaneously to be about violence prevention, reentry resources for those young people charged with a crime, and accountability.
for more features.