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Families Hold Unity Rally To Remember Loved Ones Lost To Gun Violence

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Two men are hospitalized after they were shot on the Northwest Side of Chicago Sunday night. It happened just hours after a unity rally organized by those hoping to curb violence and come together as a city.

A 19-year-old was shot in the stomach and a 21-year-old was shot in the back and left in critical condition. The 19-year-old is in good condition. The two were sitting in a car in the Portage Park neighborhood near Laramie and Irving Park.

It happened in the 16th district, which is Area Five or police area boundaries. The City of Chicago data portal shows Area Five had 235 non-fatal shootings and 83 homicides last year. Of those homicides, 79 were shootings. In 2020, Area ive had 261 non-fatal shootings and 67 homicides, o which 60 were gun related.

On Sunday families who lost loved ones due to gun violence rallied together in Logan Square.

Patricia Dietz's 13-year-old son was killed last year.

On May 16 in McKinley Park, Eric Crawford was riding his bicycle in the 3700 block of South Wood Street when someone driving past fired several shots. Her son was shot in the head and neck.

Craword was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition. Dietz said two days later they had to pull him off life support.

"This shouldn't happen. No more gun shots, little kids. Two 14-year-olds were shot, not too long ago, the same day. It's got to stop," Dietz said.

Seven years ago, Milagros Bergos lost her daughter Alexandria. She was hit by a stray bullet while sitting in a third-floor apartment near Oakdale and Lockwood in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood.

She was rushed to Illinois Masonic Medical Center and died a short time later.

"My daughter should have been here right now with me, standing for preventing the lives that are being lost from gun violence," Bergos said. "This is not normal. Gun violence is not normal, and we should not take it as being normal. It's preventable."

Elizabeth Ramirez said her son, Harry Rodriguez, was celebrating his 23rd birthday in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood and was shot in the chest at his own party.

"It's been 10 years, 10 years that we are still fighting for justice for my son," she said. "And not only justice for my son, we're fighting also for peace."

The families chose to do this a day before the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day to show that everyone, from all backgrounds, is coming together to take a stand against violence.

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