X picked me up around 9:30 this morning to go photograph a few of the sites in his district. I was uneasy, not knowing what to expect of the places we were visiting. I wondered if there would be people mulling around, if I would face any resistance and if it would be sad.
First we went to 3251 West Division Street where Mark Pekovitch, 39 was shot the Thursday evening before Memorial Day weekend and died that Saturday from from a gun shot wound to the head. He was standing on the sidewalk on the 3200 block of West Division Street when he was struck. Until now, this incident was not recorded in my tracking. Technically, he was the first casualty of the season. Interestingly, the address where Pekovitch was shot was in front of a store on a wide bright street full of morning traffic. X made me feel very safe and comfortable, even laughing when a man walking towards the store front saw my camera and took a quick turn back where he came from.
Next we went to Brian Piccolo Specialty School on Keeler and Thomas where Jeremy Baggett, 15 was killed trying to flee a gunman on foot and two men in a black van chasing after him. The school is in the middle of a neighborhood of tree lined streets. X said that earlier in the week kids had covered the wall behind the spot where he died with tons of graffiti. The graffiti had all been erased, but I could see the remnants of it on the shaded, looming brick wall. As I was shooting, I was approached by a very nice woman with a badge around her neck. She introduced herself as the principal of the school and inquired about my photographing. She was very gracious. I imagine this is something I will encounter more along my path. I hope that everyone will be as kind and understanding.
Our last site today was the M & K Grocery and Restaurant in the 3600 block of West Ohio. Last night 2 men, Jeffery Pinkerton and Patrick Evans, were killed when a man entered the store and opened fire. This site was very fresh. Everything from the bits of crime scene tape still laying on the ground in the alley to the police officers keeping watch a block away. Many of the buildings and houses in this part of town are boarded up or empty. It was suprising to see a white mercedes parked in front of the store. X said it most likely belonged to a drug dealer. As I was setting up my camera a woman in her 20s walked past. She apologized for walking in front of the camera. She looked at me sadly. It made me feel badly for being in this place so close to the incident. There was still a feeling of melancholy lingering over the site that was incredibly immediate.
I am set to go out and photograph again tomorrow with police woman c. I will update with some images as soon as I have them ready.