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With 3 Mass Shootings In 4 Days On West Side, Community Leaders Hold Peace Walk And Talk With Neighbors About Crisis

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Three mass shootings transpired over a period of four days recently on the city's West Side – leaving two teenagers dead and 13 other people injured after gunshots rang out in North Lawndale and Austin.

As CBS 2's Jackie Kostek reported Sunday, community members say the violence does not sit well with them.

Two of the mass shootings happened within minutes and block so each other Wednesday evening. The first happened near Douglas Boulevard and Christiana Avenue around 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

A total of five people were wounded in the attack. One of them, 14-year-old Damarion Benson, died soon afterward, and another 16-year-old Davion Wright, died on Friday.

Three other victims – two 24-year-old men and a 22-year-old man – were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital. One of the 24-year-olld men was shot in the left shin and the other in the right hip, while the 22-year-old man was shot in the left foot. Their conditions were all stabilized.

A second shooting happened five minutes later at Douglas Boulevard and Ridgeway Avenue. Five more people were shot there.

A sport-utility vehicle was left flipped over in the middle of the street in the aftermath.

Police said in that incident at 6:11 p.m., a 15-year-old boy was shot in the right leg, a 17-year-old boy suffered a graze wound to the back, a 14-year-old boy was shot in the right arm, and a 22-year-old man was shot in the right thigh. Those four victims were all reported in good condition – the first two were taken to Stroger Hospital of Cook County, the other two to Mount Sinai Hospital.

The fifth victim, an 18-year-old man, was shot in the upper body and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition.

Early on Sunday morning, there was another mass shooting – this time in South Austin – in which five people were also struck.

The Sunday morning shooting took place at 12:29 a.m. in the 4800 block of West Race Avenue. The men – ages 23, 30, 36, 48, and 50 were all shot multiple times in the lower extremities and were taken to Stroger Hospital of Cook County and Mount Sinai Hospital, where their conditions were stabilized.

Kostek spoke to the pastor of a church in North Lawndale Sunday, who said she actually witnessed one of the mass shootings in North Lawndale early Wednesday evening.

She was gardening at the time. She stood up and says she was in total shock at what she was witnessing.

"Initially I heard the shots, and I just kind of turned to the left a little, and I saw gunfire going back and forth," said the Rev. Reshorna Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick is the executive pastor of the historic Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church at 3622 W. Douglas Blvd. She said she was witnessing felt like an unrealistic reality.

"I felt like I was right in the middle of a Western," Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick doesn't know how long the shooting lasted or how many shots were fired - just how she felt in the moments after.

"I became heartbroken," she said. "I became a little emotional, and I just started to pray."

She began to pray and walk. As police rolled up, Fitzpatrick says she went on her own peace walk - hoping to stave off the trauma of another shooting.

Fitzpatrick grew up just a couple blocks away. On Saturday, she walked alongside CPD officers, aldermen, and other community leaders in a larger peace walk.

She said it was a time to engage with neighbors and have conversations about solutions.

"'Hi, how can we help you, is there that anything we can do?' And it looks like, 'Yeah, we need the violence to stop,'" Fitzpatrick said.

LaShon Washington is 14 years old, about to begin his freshman year of high school. He said the violence in his neighborhood feels inevitable.

"I feel like it's going to be around forever," he said, "but at the end of the day, we need to stop it."

But Washington said for any peace to last, it can't just be police officers marching.

"It's got to be like a whole community coming together, having a protest about how we need to stop the killing," he said.

Fitzpatrick said she understands there are barriers that many young people believe will prevent them from getting jobs or other opportunities - whether it be having a record or not having the right ID to apply.

She said there are resources available. She points to the North Lawndale Employment Network as a good place to start.


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