Killing Season Chicago, Wicker Park, July 2011

Click on the names of the deceased on the right navigation panel to see images of the sites and information about the circumstances of their deaths.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jeffery Pinkerton, 27 & Patrick Evans, 28

On July 8th, police received a call about shots fired at the M and K Grocery at 3649 West Ohio Street at about 6:28 p.m. A man wearing a ski mask and all black clothing walked into the East Garfield Park neighborhood grocery store and shot Jeffery Pinkerton and Patrick Evans to death. Neighbors said the two men who were killed might have been playing pool in the back of the store. Neighborhood residents said that both victims were known drug dealers. Police said both were members of the Conservative Vice Lords.

Photographing at the site

Jeremy Baggett, 15

On June 2nd, Baggett and a friend were at 4200 West Thomas Street near Piccolo Elementary Specialty School in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood at about 9:30 p.m. when it started to rain. He and his friend scambled to their bikes to ride home when a black van came up and two people inside began yelling before shots rang out. Jeremy fell off his bike and collapsed on the sidewalk. He was shot once in the head, once in the neck, and three times in the chest. He was dead before the ambulance pulled up. He was a sophomore at Orr Academy High School.

Photographing at the site

Monday, September 27, 2010

Christopher Walton, 30

Walton was shot while sitting in his vehicle in the Little Village neighborhood on the 1st of June. He was found at 10:33 p.m. at 2215 West 28th Street in the driver's seat of his vehicle with gunshot wounds to his head. He was pronounced dead at 11:17 p.m. at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Photographing at the site

Quintin Sharp, 25

On May 31st at about 8:15 a.m. at 6500 South Martin Luther King Drive, a guard with Digby Security intervened in a domestic dispute over custody of Quintin Sharp's 6-year-old son in the gated parking lot of a subsidized housing complex. Quintin was fleeing with the child in a Buick sedan when he drove toward the on-duty guard, attempting to run him over. The guard, a man in his 40s, fired multiple shots at Quintin, the driver, who crashed the vehicle after suffering a gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead at 5:30 p.m. at Christ Medical Center.

Photographing at the site

Frankie Zamudio, 18

Frankie Zamudio was shot in the chest by an assailant riding a bicycle at 2830 West 46th Street at about 9:24 p.m. on May 30th in Chicago's Brighton Park neighborhood. He was pronounced dead at 9:50 p.m. at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Photographing at the site the first time & the second time

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Red Bandanas, Modified Cars & MLK Blvd

I woke up and looked at the weather. It was 52º out. Summer is clearly over. When X picked me up at 7:10 am I was bundled up in jeans and a hoodie. He was sporting his bullet proof vest and had his radio wired into his ear secret service style. He said he thought we might be going to the West Side, in which case he wanted to be clearly identified as a police officer. He seemed relieved when I chose an area on the South Side mostly east of the expressway in the 70s. We hopped on the highway heading south. The next thing I knew, X was exiting the highway at Pershing Road. He thought we should swing by the house on the 2800 block of West Pershing where we have had little success photographing in the past because there has always been a group of boys on the front porch. We drove up to the house to find no one was there. After passing it six or seven times, this was a definite surprise. The sidewalk in front of this house is where 22-year-old Julio Castrumita was shot in the head and killed on August 21st. The past few times we drove by the site I could see that there was a memorial on the front porch made up of around ten religious candles, but when I got closer to photograph I saw that there were also small liquor bottles on a bench and a gray stone with signatures on it with a white tablet sitting on top of it. The morning paper was teetering on the bottom step and an American flag was flapping in the wind. Knowing how active this site is, I felt as though at any moment someone was going to walk out onto the porch. Looking through my lens, I noticed that one of the candles was lit. It was not burned down so someone must have lit it fairly recently. As we were getting into the car, a young man drove by and looked at us. He looked like one of the boys who typically sit on the porch there. He pulled into a parking spot a few in front of us. If it was him, I truly did luck out to find that porch empty for a few short minutes.

After that, we got some DD coffee (which was burnt) and got back on the highway headed towards 78th Street just off of Cottage Grove Avenue where Jeremy Brooks was shot and killed at the mouth of an alley next to an eight to ten flat apartment building. The 17-year-old was shot several times by one of two people who confronted him. After the shooting, police turned out in force in the neighborhood with a swarm of officers in the area with M4 rifles because the victim is the younger brother of a top member of the Gangster Disciples and police feared a retaliation shooting. At the site there was a deteriorating memorial on and around the base of a tree made up of a teddy bears tied around the trunk, along with a red bandana and some deflated balloons, a cognac bottle wrapped in a red bandana, a few candles and freshly picked white flowers. I looked into the significance of a red bandana and found that the Gangster Disciple’s rival gang, the Vice Lords, wears red bandanas. I don’t know the significance of this at the memorial, but can speculate that the rival gang killed him. Maybe the bandanas were displayed to let them know that they are aware of who did this. Again, this is all speculation. Another thing that I noticed at the site was that there was a red car with shiny, expensive looking rims parked in the alley next to the building. A man and woman came out of the apartment complex while I was setting up my camera. They could have cared less that we were there.

The next location, only a few blocks away, in the 900 block of East 79th Street where D’Angelo Jackson was shot and killed, was on the sidewalk in front of what used to be the Nine 17 Café. There was a sign above the door that read “closed for renovation.” It was right next to a food mart that was busy with morning coffee traffic. A friendly man approached X and I asking what we were doing. X told him that someone was killed here and that it was for a project documenting homicides from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The man went into the food mart and I could hear him tell someone inside that we were taking pictures where a guy was killed. He came back out and asked what was going to happen with the pictures when they were done and asked how many places we had to go to. X answered his questions while I took pictures. The man went to his car then came back a few minutes later with a few more questions. When he finally resigned to his car and drove off we saw that he had a modified Ford Bronco. The plastic top over the back seats had been removed, making it look like a pickup truck. Instead of rear windows there were shades separating him from the outside elements. I didn't get a picture of that, but I did see these sweet rims on the same block.

The site where DeShawn McNeil was shot and killed was not even half a block away in the alley just beyond the backside of the Nine 17 Café in the rear of a large apartment complex. The alley was extremely narrow with tall brick walls from the large apartment complexes that butted up to the pavement on both sides. It felt like I was in a canyon. The area where McNeil was killed was easily discernable since there were still a few pieces of the red police tape tied to the gate over two and a half months past the incident. While we were there, X heard reports of a woman in a vest photographing in an alley over the police radio. He thought it might have been us, but decided that the response time was way too quick, not to mention I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, not a vest. X pointed out a note he found taped to a telephone pole where we were photographing. He wouldn’t read it out loud, but made me come over and look at it. It read, “Black people R evil. The Klu Klux Klan is right.”

The note on the pole in the alley

From here we headed towards the east to the 8000 block of South Jeffery Boulevard where Linton Goldsmith was driving a van at about 1:00 a.m. on August 24th when he was shot in the face. Reports said he was driving when another vehicle pulled up and someone inside fired shots into the van. The van struck a tree and flipped over but the five other people inside were not injured. Goldsmith was found unresponsive. The site of the shooting and accident was across the street from the Horace Mann School. The addresses on the block were a bit confusing. There were several numbers that got skipped. There were two unmarked buildings that may have been the address. One of the buildings was an abando and the other had several crushed beer cans on the front stoop. Given the situation, I could discern that since there was only one tree that sat almost between the two properties that the incident must have taken place there.

After leaving there we continued toward the lake to revisit the site where Dwoyne Baker was shot and killed on the sidewalk in the 7900 block of South Brandon Avenue. I was unhappy with the pictures I made the first time around. As we passed the address of the site, I could see a little girl at the front screen door looking out at us. The house next door had a string out triangular flags hanging from their fence and a few Happy Birthday signs by the entrance gate. I noticed a plastic grocery bag tied to the fence. I asked X about it since I saw this at several of the locations today. He said he didn’t really know why they were there, but that they were just filled with trash.

Steven Bell was found shot on the sidewalk not too far north on the 7400 block of South Kingston Avenue. The site was on a vacant lot that had several cars parked on the overgrown grass. There was a large white house peeking out from behind several trees. One of the three men standing on the corner at the block walked past me, said hello and went into an apartment building a few lots down. It was otherwise quiet.

Next we went to the 7100 block of South Yates Boulevard where 1-year-old Jamar Harris was being watched by his mother's boyfriend when he was brought to the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital unresponsive. He had bruising to his body. It was claimed that he fell down the stairs. An autopsy showed that Jamar died of blunt force trauma and was a victim of child abuse and his death was ruled a homicide. The address was a unit in a large brick apartment complex. It was the first residential building at the end of a string of commercial storefronts including the local alderman’s office. There were several people standing outside the office. While I was photographing, X told me not to look, but that I was causing quite a stir with them. They were watching me, talking, and pointing. Across the street a man in a red truck pulled up and sat in it watching us as well. I recognized that this was an unfortunate and sensitive situation so I tried to be quick and not cause any waves. As we pulled out I saw the man in the red truck watch us leave.

We headed to the 2000 block of East 71st Street next. In this area, 71st Street is divided by train tracks. There is really no barrier to keep people from walking onto and across the tracks. I wonder if this is where I hear about people getting run over by the train. It seems like it could happen easily here. We found the site right outside a sandwich shop, where 64-year-old Mobolaji Osho was shot by an attacker who was shooting at a group of teens when he walked out the shop. The block was busy with people in the stores, waiting for the bus, and just generally idling. We went around the block a few times. There was a young man who took note of us each time. The last time he rounded the corner of one of the side streets and called to a group of other young men. X said he thought they were selling dope on the corner. I always trust X’s judgment. He thought we should come back, so we kept driving.

Chris Rock on Martin Luther King Boulevard

The next three sites we went to were on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The first two were just a few houses apart in the 7000 block. The first was the site where Ernest Sanford was shot and killed on June 13th on the sidewalk in front of an abandoned building. The patch of grass between the sidewalk and the street was overgrown and full of garbage, empty liquor bottles, and fast food remnants. At the bottom of my frame, I discovered a short piece of red police tape in the mess. It was odd to think that it was still there after so much time.

The other location that was a few houses down was the site where Debra Haywood-Hughes’ husband stabbed her to death on their 10th anniversary. After killing her he called the cops to tell them what he had done. The house looked empty but not abandoned. There was a light on in the front entrance hall, but no sign of life otherwise. Above the front door was a sign that said, “We call police.”

About thirteen blocks north of there, in the 6300 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, on the same day, Laverick Marshall was in a large crowd that was fighting on the sidewalk in front of a housing development (The same housing development I photographed in May where Quintin Sharp was shot and killed). When the crowd cleared, Marshall was found shot. This portion of MLK Jr. Drive is very busy with car traffic. I photographed from across the street in front of a hot dog stand. It was hard to time the pictures between the people walking on the sidewalk and the passing cars.

Our last location for the day was in the 5700 block of South State Street at the Garden State Liquor Store where 20-year-old Marcus Marshall was inside when he was shot and killed. The store was on the corner and most of the area surrounding it was vacant. It was 10 am and the store was hopping. Cars pulled up, people jumped out, entered the store, and came out just as quickly. I photographed from across the street, then on the same side. I wanted to get one more angle before we left and a big van pulled up in front, right in my way. A large man got out and went inside. We figured we would wait until he came out. In the meantime, two men walked up to the bus stop in front of the building. When the large man came back out, he opened the back of his van and people began to gather. He must have been selling something. We gave up and decided that we would come back again if we needed to.

After today I have 49 more locations to photograph.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Allen Olivia, 19

On May 30th, Olivia was walking with a companion at about 1:00 a.m. at 3300 South Ashland Avenue when three men approached and "without provocation" struck his head with the bat. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where a doctor determined that he also had been stabbed twice in the back. He was taken into surgery, but doctors were unable to save his life. He was pronounced dead at 5:42 a.m.

Photographing at the site

Mark Pekovitch, 39

Pekovitch was standing in the street in front of 3251 West Division Street in the Humbolt Park neighborhood on May 27th, Thursday evening preceding Memorial Day weekend, when he was shot. He died from injuries sustained from from a gun shot wound to the head on just two days later on Saturday May 29th.

He was the first casualty of the 2010 Killing Season.

Photographing at the site

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lights Out in the Alley

Mike Jones

After listening to my stories all summer, a friend strongly recommended that I watch the HBO series The Wire. I finally started. In one of the first episodes the police walk into “the low rises” and a bunch of kids that are on lookout for the drug dealers all call out “five-o.” X said “five-o” isn't really used anymore. Now, “lights out in the alley” is one of the many things that dope boys will call out. Another saying is “Mike Jones.” Interestingly, these much more creative sayings both come from rap and hip-hop. Mike Jones is a rapper who so audaciously promotes himself that he used to get kicked out of class in high school for standing up during lessons and yelling out his name. I cannot find the exact source of “lights out in the alley,” but it may come from a Crown Nation song called “Cut the Lights Out.”

Anyway, X picked me up this morning around 7:15. After stopping for a much-needed coffee, we headed to the 8100 block of South Winchester Avenue where Kevin Banks was shot and killed in the front yard of a residence. A cute little brick house with red awnings over the windows, freshly cut grass, and a small garden with yellow flowers blossoming presented a surprising location for such violence to take place.

Jerome Cole Muhammed was shot and killed just a few blocks away from here in an alley in the 1700 block of West 83rd Street. The streets in the area were extremely hard to navigate. Many of them were one-way the same way for a few consecutive streets and some were blocked off with cul-de-sacs or turned from a one-way south to a one-way north from one black to the next. There was a block club sign with a gaping hole in the middle of it on the corner of 83rd and Wood. Just off that there was a white sedan that had been struck by another car, badly dented, and pushed up on the sidewalk. A young man was sitting on the stairs of the house that the car was in front of. He didn’t seem to notice. Since Muhammed was killed in the alley, we had to find the address on the street side before we could find the location in the back. Many of the houses were not numbered so we went around the block several times trying to figure out where the address fell. The young man on the front steps watched us each time we passed. I mentioned it to X. Our last time around; we realized we had been going the wrong way down a one-way street. That’s why the young man kept looking at us. Oops. The address fell in the mouth of the alley. The neighborhood was relatively quiet with the exception of a few little girls that walked past with pink backpacks on and went into a residence a few houses down from where I was photographing. Their voices carried. I could hear one of them talking about me photographing. Why I was there was not part of any conversation that I could hear. It made me wonder if they knew about the shooting. It also made me imagine that they might remember the incident every time they pass the mouth of that alley to go home.

Pierre York, 19, was also shot and killed just five blocks away on the sidewalk in front of the Winchester Plaza in the 1800 block of West 87th Street. The sign was full of blank slots where store names should be. There must have been a school a few blocks north of the location. Kids wearing backpacks holding their mother’s hands streamed across the intersection. One mother stood with her kids and waited for me to finish before walking in front of my camera. She told her kids that I was a surveyor. In a way that is not entirely inaccurate.

Four blocks from there, on the sidewalk in the 8800 block of South Hermitage Avenue, Dionte Young was also shot and killed. We ended up having to cut through an alley that ended in a T. At the very end there was a car blocking the turn where three men and one woman were idling in the yard of a boarded up house. One man told us to hold up while another man got his keys and backed up the car. We thanked them with a wave. This block of Hermitage was lined with red brick bungalows that had small front yards. Each had matching old-fashioned light posts and matching signs with their house numbers on them. A man was sitting on his porch reading the paper a few houses down. I pointed my camera in his direction to see if he would retreat into the house so that I could get the image that I wanted. He did not, so I had to crop him out of the frame. Behind me, a few teenage boys began to come out of a gangway, gathering to watch me.

The next site was on the sidewalk amidst an array of eclectic houses in the 8700 block of Emerald Avenue. On the 24th of July, Keith King was shot and killed here. The residence he was shot in front of was a one story single family home that was set back off the street. It was flanked by two identical newish Victorian style homes with wicker furniture on the front porches. After taking a few photographs, a little white dog jumped up into the bay window of the house I was in front of and started barking relentlessly. X said, “You just got busted by the dog.” No one came to the window so I kept on photographing. Once we were back in the car, I noticed a house across the street that had some imaginative decorations on the porch. One of them was a tire that was made into a mirror hanging to the left of the front door.

Olayinka Ibitoya and Deante Coleman, both 17-years-old, were found shot and dumped in a location just south of Holland and 90th Street right off the train tracks. As we drove further and further down Holland, it started to feel like we were no longer in the city. There were homes on one side of the street and a thinly wooded area on the other side. Holland ended at 89th Street where there were several yellow school busses parked. There was a depot around the corner. X and I got out; climbed over the arm that was blocking the continuation of the street and stomped through the high grass towards the tracks. X, being the gentleman that he is, went first. After traipsing through the brush, we had to climb up a steep hill to get up to the level of the tracks. It was hard to imagine how someone would have found the boy’s bodies all the way back there. It was a passage to nowhere. I couldn’t imagine any good reason to be walking back there, yet there I was, walking back there.

X always has a radio with him when we go out. It is always chattering in the background.
I don’t always pay attention to it, but I think X is always aware of what they are saying. On our way to the next location, we heard over the radio that someone had been shot at 77th & Constance. The location we were headed to was in the 7800 block of South Union Avenue. It was much further east than where we were, but it made me uneasy knowing that this was going on while I was in an area so close by. We parked on 78th Street and rounded the corner towards the address where Dwight Miller was shot and killed on the porch. There was a man standing on the porch next door that was talking on the phone. My nerves got the best of me. I had a hard time concentrating on making a good image. X made me feel comfortable enough to go directly in front of the house on the same side of the street and finally make a good picture. When we got back in the car he said that there were dope bags in the grass near where we were standing. He said he didn’t point them out to me because he didn’t want to make me anymore tense than I already was.

78th Street & Union

Our last official location of the day was just a few blocks away where 15-year-old Kevin Jones was shot and killed in an apartment building on the corner of 78th Street and Carpenter after a fight broke out at a party there. Someone involved in the fight walked outside, pulled out a handgun and fired several shots through the first-floor apartment window where the party was going on. One of those bullets went through the window, striking and killing Jones. One unit on the first-floor had a “For Rent” sign hanging in what looked like a brand new window. The house next door to the building had a large CeaseFire poster on the front door.

Before X dropped me back at my house, we decided to go by the site of Julio Castrumita’s death again. X said he passed the site three or four times this week and each time there were people on the porch. As anticipated three young men were on the porch when we passed. This site is going to be a challenge.

Over the radio we heard that another shooting occurred at 55th Street and Sangamon. We had driven just two blocks away from that location only twenty minutes prior.

After today I have 59 sites left to visit. My goal is to the rest of the sites in the next three weeks.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Is This a Rap Video?

I went out to photograph with H again today. We covered nine sites in the area between 91st Street and 78th Street on the east side of the Skyway. The first site was a residence in the 8900 block of South Burley Avenue where Adrian Cantor was shot and killed. The houses on the west side of the street faced a field attached to an elementary school where there were kids, led by their teacher, playing in the grass. A teenage boy passed me while I was photographing. We said good morning to each other. He asked me if I was shooting a rap video. I laughed and said, “I wish.” He walked up the stairs of the house next door
and sat on the porch.

Jaime Ramirez was shot and killed in mid-August just a few blocks away on the same street. The address where Ramirez was shot brought us to the sidewalk in front of a church. The spot was marked with a memorial of 10-15 religious candles and a few ribbons tied around a telephone pole. The church had a gate around it and signs indicating that it had a surveillance system and alarm. There was virtually no traffic on the street so I had my tripod set up in the street. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a car coming towards me. I pulled up my equipment and moved a bit to the side. The car came to a stop right where I was standing. In it were three ladies, a little boy, and a little girl. They were all laughing. The driver said, “Sorry if we scared you, we were just playing.” I smiled. They asked what I was doing and I explained that someone had been shot and killed here and that I was taking pictures. The women, who I assume lived close by, had no idea about the homicide. The lady in the passenger seat said she knows how many sites I have to visit and said, “Don’t worry it will be over soon.” She handed me a pamphlet that said “All suffering soon to end.” I thanked her and they went on their way. As they pulled off, I saw H looking at me to make sure I was ok. I nodded and continued photographing. When I got back into the car I realized that the empty lot were parked
next to across the street from the church had a foundation that was almost completely hidden by overgrowth. H said they must have started building and ran out of money.

The next site, also close by, was in the 9000 block of South Commercial Avenue. Commercial Avenue, aptly named, was a bustling street full of shops. Johnny Taylor was shot and killed on the sidewalk in front of a currency exchange. The currency exchange was next door to a shop that sold everything from backpacks with cartoon characters on them to balloons. There was a man standing outside who greeted me and promptly retreated into the store. At one point a man with a grill strapped to the back of his bike rode down the sidewalk. Soon after another man on a bike rode in front of me and said, “Take my picture.” I thought it was so great that the people in this neighborhood were so friendly.

From here we went to the 8400 block of South Cregier Avenue where Paul Garrette was shot and killed in a backyard. The block was full of small bungalows. The house where Garrette was killed looked like someone was home. The front door was ajar and the windows were all open. We pulled around the back in the alley. Men were working on the back of the house next door. I covertly took some pictures and hurried back to the car.

Just a few streets over in the 8400 block of Euclid Avenue both Michael Chatman and Reginald Riley were shot and killed in the street on the first of August. The site was in front of a large house that took up an entire lot with another lot surrounded by a
wooden fence next to it for a yard. A shiny Cadillac with big tires and sparkling silver rims sat out front. The block was quiet. Everyone must have been at school and work.

On our way to the next site, I noticed some houses that had metal shutters pulled down over their windows. H said it was not too uncommon. People like to have them to prevent burglary and so they don’t lose their windows in case of gunfire. The only time I have seen this before is on houses by the beach to protect the windows from storms and heavy winds.

Next we went to a CITGO in the 2900 block of East 83rd Street where 17-year-old Cojuan Harper was shot and killed when two people wearing hooded sweatshirts approached him and opened fire. The gas station was right across the street from a church on one corner and an elementary school on another.

From there we went to the 8200 block of South Muskegon Avenue where 41-year-old Richard McGill was shot and killed on the porch at the address. The house was a large single family home with a big porch. There were quite a few houses in the vicinity that X calls abandos. A car was parked behind the house, on the grass, near the mouth of the alley. The only person around was the mailman who was weaving up and down front walks to the houses just south of us.

We made our way from there to the 7800 block of South Essex Avenue where Kemanuel Montgomery was stabbed by a homeless man who had had an argument with one of his family members. This block of Essex was lined with three and four story apartment buildings. There were people everywhere. The site where Montgomery was stabbed was in front of a laundry mat that appeared to be closed for business. Although there were a lot of people around, the site was empty. As quiet as the images may appear, as I was photographing, a group of men sitting by a house on the opposite side of the intersection were yelling at each other.

The last site we visited was on the 7300 block of South Cornell Avenue where Tufan Muhammed was shot and killed. Although it was a small side street, the immediate area was very busy with people. A group of three men were leaning on a gate in front of the building across the street from the address. As soon as I pulled out my camera, one of the men walked away quickly. He passed H and told him that he was afraid of the camera. He said he didn’t even let them take pictures of him for the yearbook in high school. The man stayed out of the view of the camera, but looked on. He asked if it was for the guy who got killed there. H nodded. He said, “I knew that guy. That was some crazy shit.” As we finished up he walked over to another group that was sitting just down the street on plastic shipping crates in front of a large abandoned lot.

What I have left to photograph
Including today, I have been to 97 of the 167 sites.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Car Trouble, Vietnam Vets & Police Officers

X had some car trouble this morning so he was about an hour late to pick me up. At about 9 o’clock I hopped into his car and as we turned the corner his car overheated. We got it going and headed to his dad’s house. X’s father very generously agreed to trade cars with him for the day. While we were waiting for him to come home, we went and got some DD coffee and went to see if we could photograph at the site where Julio Castrumita was shot and killed. As we approached the address on the 2800 block of West Pershing, we saw there were four young men and one boy sitting on the porch. Again, we would have to come back another time.

Back at X’s dad’s house, we traded cars and were on our way. Our first location was the site where Officer Thor Soderberg was shot and killed with his own gun in the police station parking lot on the 6100 block of South Racine Avenue. The parking lot had two long aisles filled with police vehicles. A high fence surrounded it. Just south of the lot was a school and across the street was a vacant lot that was gated off. As I was waiting for the lot to clear out, an older gentleman walked over to us and started talking to X. He wanted to chat with X about what the police are doing in his neighborhood and what he thinks the solution to the problems are. He was also a teacher and was interested in my camera for his students. They continued to talk as I photographed. When I was done, they bid farewell. The gentleman had served in Vietnam. X thanked him for his service.

Our next location was where Jerry Seals was shot and killed in the 6200 block of South Laflin. I was there just over a week ago and we had to pass it because there were a group of young men hanging out in the front yard of the address. This time there was a young man leaning against the fence in front of the site. As X and I got out and walked across the street, the young man hurried into a car that was parked in front and took off. X laughed because he said the car door wasn’t even closed before they were gone. There was a huge wrought iron Statue of Liberty on his front door. There was a group of young men on a porch a few houses down. They didn’t express any interest in knowing what I was doing there.

Next we went to the 6000 block of South Cottage Grove Avenue where Damien Turner was shot and killed. He was killed on the corner of a busy intersection in front of a section of the Grove Park Plaza Apartments near a CTA bus stop. The shell for the bus stop had a billboard on it that read, “Don’t wait until it’s gone.”

The next site was in the alley at 6400 South Ingleside Avenue. The buildings on the block were extremely nice. They looked like they were old brick and grey stone three flats. Most were very well taken care of with the exception of the 5 or 6 that were boarded up. A few of those that were abandoned were being worked on. Sounds of construction echoed down the block. Larry Johnson was killed in the alley behind the only building on the block that sat next to a vacant lot. The lot had a well-trod dirt path between the alley and the street. While I was photographing, a homeless man was going through the garbage a few houses down and a scrapper was picking up some refuse at the mouth of the alley.

From there we went to the corner of 75th Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue where Credale Woulard was shot and killed outside a Currency Exchange. It was a busy corner, so I had to time my pictures to get them free of cars and people. My camera was all set up and I was waiting for the light to change when two young men pulled up. They posed for me and asked me to take a picture. Here they are.

Just a few blocks away in the 7400 block of South Evans was the site where Officer Michael Bailey was shot and killed while cleaning his car near his home on July 18th. The house was just a block away from a school. Many of the houses were boarded up on the street. The lot right next to the site was vacant. There was a small memorial for Officer Bailey in the grassy area between the sidewalk and the street made up of a stone cross, a few American flags, a vase that must have once had flowers in it, and a small stuffed teddy bear holding a heart. Just down the street a group of young men were talking loudly on the porch.

Our next location was at the end of the 7400 block of South Kenwood Avenue where Roger Kizer was shot and killed in the street. There was a one-story brick block building on the corner with a sign that said, “See English.” Behind that was the backside of a garage that had white vinyl siding. Adjacent to that was a single family home that had been boarded up. While I was photographing I could see a woman out of the corner of my eye watching me from behind a fence in her front yard. Kizer lived on that block. I wondered whether the woman was a friend of his or maybe a relative.

Before we finished for the day, we thought we would try for two more locations. The first was where Jaime Sanchez-Negrete was beaten to death and found in the backyard of a house in the 5800 block of South California. X and I went there the last time we were out, but there were people in the next-door neighbor’s backyard. This time, all was quiet. There was no garage for this house; instead there was a pull in where there were two cars parked. There was laundry hanging from lines in the backyard where the neighbors were sitting last time. As I finished my last few shots, a neighbor came out of their backdoor to see what I was up to. They didn’t ask any questions. They just looked on.

The last thing we did before calling it a day was to go back to the house in the 2800 block of West Pershing again to see if the people were still out on the porch. They were. This time one of them was reading the paper and the young boy was gone. Once again, we would have to come back.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Memorial Day to Labor Day Statistics

Here are some statistics about the summer:

The final number of deceased from Memorial Day to Labor Day is 167. This is one less than last year during the same time period. These homicides add up to 4,515 years of life that were prematurely lost with the victim's average age being 27-years-old.

The youngest victim was 1-year-old and the oldest was 71-years-old.
Here is a breakdown of victims by age:

0-10: 7
11-20: 39
21-30: 76
31-40: 22
41-50: 11
51-60: 3
61+: 4

At the beginning of this project, the number of homicides in Chicago for 2010 was about equal to the number of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Here are the current statistics:

16 – the number of casualties in Iraq during this time period
279 – the number of casualties in Afghanistan during this time period
295 – the number of casualties both Iraq and Afghanistan during this time period

Here are the death counts for different areas of Chicago that were effected:

Austin – 9
Ashburn – 2
Auburn Gresham – 8
Avalon Park – 3
Avondale – 1
Belmont Cragin – 1
Brighton Park – 2
Calumet Heights – 1
Chatham – 1
Chicago Lawn – 2
East Garfield Park – 5
Edgewater – 1
Englewood – 8
Gage Park – 5
Grand Boulevard – 4
Greater Grand Crossing – 6
Hermosa – 2
Humbolt Park – 10
Irving Park – 2
Logan Square – 1
Lower West Side – 2
McKinley Park – 1
Montclare – 1
Morgan Park – 4
Near West Side – 4
Near South Side – 1
New City – 6
North Lawndale – 7
Oakland – 1
Portage Park – 1
Rogers Park – 1
Roseland – 10
South Chicago – 7
South Lawndale – 4
South Shore – 7
Uptown – 2
Washington Heights – 1
Washington Park – 1
West Englewood – 12
West Garfield Park – 9
West Lawn – 5
West Pullman – 4
Woodlawn – 4

Here is a breakdown of the causes of death:

gunshot: 144
stabbing: 5
auto crash: 2
assault: 2
strangling: 4
trauma: 6
arson: 1
neglect: 2

Of the 167 homicides only 23 were not gun related.

Labor Day (1)

Jennifer Alvarado
A woman was shot and killed while sitting in a vehicle in the Southwest Side's Little Village neighborhood. Alvarado was a passenger in the front seat of the vehicle as it was headed west in the 2700 block of West 24th Street about 5:30 p.m. when another vehicle pulled up. Shots were fired and the victim told her driver she had been hit.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday (1)

Theresa Russell
23 years old
Chicago police are investigating the slaying of a woman found shot to death in the Englewood neighborhood this morning.
Officers found Russell in the 6400 block of South Morgan Street about 2:50 a.m. with a gunshot wound to the back.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Week 14

Homicides in the city of Chicago as of today

What I have left to photograph as of today

There were 15 homicides this week, including the four men who were shot and killed execution style in a garage on the southwest side last night. That is a few above the weekly average for the summer months. In 4 days, Labor Day will have come and gone and I will be finished with the tracking component of this project. I have photographed 85 of the 165 locations so far. I still have tons of catching up to do, but feel that it can be done. As you can see from the maps above, I have made a good dent. Look for my report on Tuesday that will include some interesting statistics about the summer months of 2010 in Chicago.

5 More Dead in 2 Separate Incidents

Alonso Villarreal
32 years old
Roberto Rivera
30 years old
Noel Casares
25 years old
Luis Santillian
30 years old
Four men were found shot to death in a garage in Chicago's West Lawn neighborhood with their hands, feet and mouths bound with duct tape.They were found face down on the garage floor, their hands behind their backs. All of them appeared to have been shot in the head. "Multiple weapons" were found at the scene in the 6100 block of South Kildare Avenue, but the motive for the slayings was not known. Police said the shootings, which occurred at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday, were "an isolated incident."

Jeremy Brooks
17 years old
The shooting happened about 2:15 p.m. in an alley near East 78th Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue in the Chatham neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. The teenager was shot several times by one of two people who confronted him. The victim staggered behind a church near 78th and Cottage Grove and was taken to Jackson Park Hospital by ambulance. Police turned out in force in the neighborhood, with a swarm of officers in the area with M4 rifles, because the victim is the younger brother of a top member of the Gangster Disciples and police fear a retaliation shooting.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Gas Stations, Fires & Abandos

I woke up Tuesday morning and checked the news to find that someone was shot and killed close to where my cousins live and even closer to a bar that one of them manages. A few minutes later I received a text from X saying that he just heard about the shooting and that he would be there to pick me up soon so we could go take a look. The location in the 1100 block of West Madison was not easily discernable even though the incident had happened less than 8 hours ago. There were pieces of both red and yellow tape still tied to a fence. X informed me that yellow tape is used to mark the outside perimeter of a crime scene and what keeps the regular people out. Red tape, on the other hand, is used to indicate to the police that the area it delineates is highly sensitive and may contain important evidence. We decided that we would come back later to ask some of the bar regulars if they could tell us more about what happened.

Before we continued on, we had to stop for some Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (…the cop diet continues).

First we tried to go to the site where Julio Castrumita was shot and killed on the sidewalk in the 2800 block of West Pershing Road. A teenage boy was reading the paper on the front steps of the house where the address fell. It also appeared that there was a cluster of religious candles in the corner of the porch. I am not sure that they were there as a memorial for Julio, but I assume so. I contemplated talking to the boy about what I was doing and seeing if he would mind me photographing, but he was quite young and I didn’t know his relation to the victim so I didn’t want to make him upset in case it was his brother, cousin, or a close friend.

The next site was where Frankie Zamudio was shot in the beginning of the summer. It was a site that I had already visited, but felt that I needed to go back to photograph again. The last time I was there the block was very quiet, but this time there were people all around. There was even a cart on the opposite corner with a short line where a people were waiting to buy sno-cones. It couldn’t have been later than 9:30, but it was already steamy out so I didn’t blame them for wanting something cold.

We went from there to the 3300 block of West 63rd Street where 28-year-old Terrance Cooper was shot as he left a store at about 10:30 on the evening of August 18th. The address was a check-cashing window inside a glass enclosed corner storefront. An older woman who worked in another store on the block came up to us and asked what we were doing. I told her I was photographing where Cooper was killed and X said he was a police officer. She thanked X for his efforts and showed him that she had on a CPD pin on the collar of her shirt. X pulled out his badge, which was a much bigger version of her pin. She was excited to see it. She also told us that the incident didn’t happen where I was photographing. It happened on the corner across the street. On the opposing side of the street was a car store with a huge empty gated parking lot (except for one red Jeep whose tire had been knocked off). I assumed that this must have been where Cooper was coming out of when he was shot, so I began to photograph there. Our CPD pinned friend crossed the street again and stopped to tell us that it happened right there, directly on the corner, right where I was standing. Once again proof that, as X likes to say, “The streets know more than the police.”

After finally photographing the right spot there, we headed to the 5900 block of South California Avenue where Anthony Martinez got into a dispute with the driver of another car at a gas station. The two traded gang slogans and accusations before the driver ran him over. The gas station was right on the corner of California and 59th Street so the area was very busy with traffic and pedestrians. Among all the chaos, a little old lady sat quietly all alone at the bust stop. I stood a bit down the street so that I could get a larger view of the area. A dog was barking incessantly from behind the tall wooden fence I was standing next to.

Just down the street in the 5800 block of South California Avenue, was where Jaime Sanchez-Negrete was found in a backyard. He had been assaulted and also had a gunshot wound on the side of his head. X and I found the address and pulled around through the alley to the back. Low chain link fences separated all the yards on the block. The neighbors on one side were sitting out on their back patio. We would have to come back to this location. We drove by it two more times before the end of the day to see if they were still out. They were and they noticed us each time.

The next site was in the 6100 block of S Richmond Street where Raymon Sanchez was found after firefighters removed the collapsed roof of his garage after a huge blaze. Autopsy reports indicate that he was beaten to death. We accidentally turned down the wrong alley first and were perplexed as to why there was no sign of a fire anywhere. We passed two men walking down the alley. One of them was wearing a tiny red beret that was just barely hanging onto his head. He smiled and said good morning. After realizing we were in the wrong place, we went one block south and easily found the location. The house was burned badly even on the front side. All the windows and doors had been boarded up. Around the back, in the alley, there was an empty space where the garage used to be. Its frame was still outlined on the bare ground. A fence on the south side of the lot was completely charred and many of the garbage cans in the immediate vicinity looked like they had melted. The garage directly across from the now empty space had remnants of melted plastic hanging from the garage door. A man on a small BMX bike passed us and turned the corner.

From there we went to 51st Street and Sacramento where Yusuf Yusuf was shot and killed in a drive-by. The site was on the corner between two large parking lots for the employees of a giant steel factory that sat on the north side of the street. One of the workers from the factory came out to talk to us. She knew about the shooting and was able to tell us exactly where the incident happened.

The last two sites we visited that day were in Englewood. The first was the site where Tyrone Clark was shot and killed in the 1400 block of West 58th Street. The immediate area was extremely quiet in comparison to the adjacent street where there were tons of people out on their porches trying to stay cool as the temperature rose into the 90s. There were two nice single-family homes off the corner followed by one house that was boarded up. There was a hula-hoop hanging from a tree branch just above the site where Clark was shot. We were surprised to see that there was no memorial since the incident happened less than a week before our visit.

Conversely, the next site, where Marshall Bennett was shot and killed in the 5500 block of South Union Avenue, had been transformed into a huge memorial to the 21-year-old boy. The building was a two-flat. As I stood on the street, I could see a ceiling fan rotating on the top floor, but the bottom floor appeared to be vacant. The white front door that was slowly swinging on its hinges in the wind was covered in writing. As I looked closer, it appeared that people had signed it and left notes, many said RIP. There were three large bay windows in the front. One was boarded over and the other two were covered with a white sheet. On the window closest to the door there was a black and white photocopied picture of Bennett and a girl. At the top of the front steps sat a pair of boots with a wooden cross between them. At the base of the stairs in the yard, there was a table with a wreath laying on it. While we were there, a group of teenage girls emerged from a vacant lot just south of the house and proceeded to cut across another vacant lot on the other side of the street. The yelled at me from about three houses away and asked what I was doing. When I answered that I was photographing for a project about violence in Chicago, they ignored me and continued on their way.

We decided that before calling it a day, we would go back to the bar on Madison Street and see if we could talk to some of the people there about the shooting the night before. As we headed north, I counted a block on which five of the eight existing buildings were boarded up. X refers to them as “abandos.”

1 Shot & Killed/1 Life Saved

Johnnie Dyer
38 years old
Preliminary reports said Dyer was standing outside in the 3000 block of West 5th Avenue in the East Garfield Park neighborhood shortly before midnight when someone approached and shot him several times. He was pronounced dead at 12:38 a.m. at Mount Sinai Hospital.


Malik Mentor was standing outside his apartment building in the South Chicago neighborhood Tuesday evening when four shots rang out across the street. He saw a boy try to run, then collapse to the ground. "When he fell ... the guy walked up to him and then pointed the gun in his face about to blow his brains out," Mentor said. According to Mentor, the wounded boy lay on the ground and pleaded for his life. Mentor said he screamed at the gunman, "Man, please can you give him another chance." The gunman looked up at Mentor. "I started begging," Mentor said.

In neighborhoods dominated by gangs, staying quiet is a common response to shootings. A man working on Mentor's building, who asked that his name not be used, said he heard Mentor and another man pleading with the gunman and told them it was better not to say anything.

Mentor continued. At first, neither his pleas nor those from the wounded teen appeared to change the gunman's intentions, he said. "He keep coming forward to him ... he wanted to kill the kid," said Mentor, adding he had seen the victim and gunman in the neighborhood before. Only when Mentor pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911 did the gunman leave, Mentor said.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Jovanni Gudino
24 years old
Chicago police and paramedics responded about 10 p.m. Tuesday night to the 6700 block of South Tripp Avenue where Gudino was shot in the head in a vehicle outside his home in the West Lawn neighborhood. The victim was a passenger inside a vehicle when two male assailants approached and at least one shot him. He was pronounced dead at 3:12 p.m. this afternoon at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

The Cop Diet

I just realized that I have been on a cop diet. To me the quintessential cop diet consists of coffee, donuts, and hot dogs. That just about covers what I have been eating lately since I have spent most of my days driving around with police officers. X picked me up at 8 on Monday morning. It’s no surprise that we stopped at McDonald’s for coffee and breakfast.

We headed back to the Dunkin’ Donuts/Carwash/gas station on Pulaski where Cesar Rosales was shot and killed hoping to get there before it was too busy. We were still trying to figure out what exactly the circumstance of the incident there was. We know he was an employee of the car wash, but don’t know exactly where he was shot. We went inside the DD and asked the woman at the counter if she knew what happened. She seemed pretty reluctant to talk about it, but told us that it happened at the car wash and pointed in the opposite direction to the sidewalk in north side of the complex. We decided it was too busy to photograph there anyway, so we would come back at another time, ask some more people, and get to the bottom of it.

From there we headed south to the 3100 block of West Washington where Alan Penny’s girlfriend allegedly doused him in gasoline and lit him on fire. Penny’s house was a red brick two-flat with huge porches stretching out the front on both floors. It sat next door to a brand new construction four-unit condo building. At least one of the units was still for sale. Next to that was another new construction condo building with the Cubs white and blue “W” flag hanging from the 3rd floor Juliet balcony. While Penny’s house looked a bit run down being juxtaposed with the new construction, there was no sign of the fire. Directly in front of the house was a car with a bullet hole in the body right above the front passenger side tire. Across the street was a vacant lot that looked onto a series of other vacant lots all the way through to the green line.

The next site we visited was the residence of Jonathan Jackson, the 5-year-old boy that was accidentally shot by his twin brother. The building is the only one on the west side of the 700 block of South California. Three of the four corners of the intersection approaching the building were vacant lots. It was a nice brick two-flat with steel porches off the back. As we drove up on it, we saw a huge mural had been painted onto the north side of the building. It read, “RIP LIL JOHN.” There was a beautiful portrait of the boy beneath the lettering. No one was out except a few people sitting on plastic buckets in the vacant lot on one corner and a meter maid that was making her way down the street.

We proceeded to the 1200 block of South Pulaski where Parnell Shumate was shot and killed behind a Taquería in a small park that is smooched between the alley and the CAA Academy. There was a small memorial comprised of a pink teddy bear, a candle, and an empty bottle of 1800 tequila for him around the base of a tree, a bright yellow poster board that had been signed taped around the trunk. There were also a few deflated balloons hung on trees and fences surrounding the area. On the wall of the Academy just beyond the memorial was a mural of influential African Americans throughout history. Above their portraits it said, “I am from the great role models that I will one day be.”

We continued south to the 4500 block of South Western Avenue where an unidentified woman was killed. I still have to do research into the circumstances of her death. This part of Western Avenue is boulevard style with a huge grassy median. On the west side at the address was an empty lot that was fenced off with a huge billboard sticking up that said the land was for lease. Right across the street was a small corner bar that had a $3 martini Fridays. I will update here when I find out more about this incident.

We went from there to the 3300 block of South Ashland where Allen Olivia, 19, was walking when he was approached from behind, struck over the head with a bat and stabbed several times. The exact location was in front of a store that X couldn’t quite figure out. On the sign it had a line of Asian writing under which it said Sigma & Associates, but it appeared that they were selling cell phones, it was kind of unclear. Just north of the address was one of X’s favorite fast food joints, The Patio Drive-Thru.

The next site was in the 700 block of East Pershing Road where 18-year-old Jamonie Richards was shot and killed. This block of Pershing has a huge park with baseball fields, tennis courts, and a nicely landscaped sitting area on the south side of the street. On the north side there is a set of new brick row houses. The address appeared to be on the street in front of a large vacant lot surrounded by a fence just east of the houses. A group of men were playing chess on a board propped up on a garbage can across the street in front of one of the park entrances. Woman and men in business clothes past me as I photographed. As X and I pulled out of the alley we were parked in, I saw a memorial in the median a little ways east of where I was photographing. X said the address estimation was pretty bad and that the streets always know more than the cops. We re-parked and I photographed the new, correct location.

We left there and got onto the expressway, got off at Belmont and headed to the 4900 block of West School Street where Miguel Vasquez was shot and killed while sitting on his front porch. The block looked like much of the north side of Chicago, a mix of three flats interspersed with single-family homes on sunny tree lined streets. The only house that stuck out as different was Vasquez’s. It appeared to be empty. The front window was broken and boarded over (maybe from a bullet or from his fall), there was a note on the front door (No trespassing by order of the bank. Violators will be prosecuted.), and the bottom of the door on the second floor leading out to a small porch was disintegrating. X thought maybe it was abandoned before the incident, but Vasquez’s name was on one of the mailboxes next to the front door. The only sign of life was a ceiling fan rotating on the second floor. X and I went up on the porch after I was done photographing to take a look. There was something red splattered on the floor there. At first we thought it might have been blood, but with a closer look we saw that it was melted candy.

From there we went to the 4100 block of North Albany where Alexander Mercado, 16, was shot and killed while sitting in a car in a no parking zone in front of a fire hydrant. There was a bed of perennials planted around the light post next to the hydrant. Just down the street, workmen were carrying large sheets of glass across the street. Other than them, no one was around. As I photographed, a little girl peaked her head out of the windows of one of the houses. Her father came and peaked his head out over hers and told her to come back inside.

Our last location for the day was in the 2300 block of North Keeler Avenue where Angel Rebolledo was shot and killed while standing out on the street with some friends. A young boy was riding a razor scooter up and down the sidewalk in front of a line of single-family homes. I began to photograph the site and people began to come out of their houses on to their front porches. The boy went into the house next door to the exact location and came out with his mother. A young girl came out onto the porch of the house on the opposite side. When I turned around I saw people standing on three of the porches of houses behind me. No one really seemed to be paying attention to me, but it was obvious that they came out to see what I was doing. No one asked me any questions. As we loaded back into the car, people started retreating back into their houses and the young boy went back to riding his scooter up and down the block.

72nd Street to 38th Street + Elotes

I have been photographing so much lately that I am not keeping up with my reports. I have made it to over 40 spots in the past week and a half, which means that I am finally starting to make some headway.

I went out to photograph with A & H again on Friday. I picked about 15 locations between 72nd Street and 38th Street. The first location was in the 7200 block of South Marshfield Ave where Darryl Dunn, 44, was shot and killed. The block was pretty busy. There were a few older women sitting on porches on the west side of the street. Across the street from the site there were three lots that were under construction. H got out to talk to one of the men working on the lots. It turned out that he had purchased them for $13,500 and was going to build a nice house for his family. He said his brother and cousin all bought lots on the same block. As I photographed a young man walked by A keeping a steady eye on her. She made a comment to him about saying hello if he was going to stare. His eyes lit up, he smiled, and said he was sorry but he did say hello, she must not have heard him. As we rounded the corner to leave you could see the extensive work that would need to be done on the existing house and property the man bought. I wish him the best of luck.

The next location was just a few blocks away in the 7000 block of South Hermitage Ave. where 70-year-old James Evans was found stabbed to death inside his residence. Two white houses that came right out to the sidewalk flanked the blue house that was set back almost a whole lot from the street. The house was hidden behind two large trees and the fence that ran separated the property from the street was covered with overgrowth. The white house on the north side had a plastic carousel horse sitting out front. I saw movement in the house through my lens and moments later a woman came out and began walking towards me. She yelled out from her yard to me, “What is it that you think you’re doing?” I responded that I was photographing for a project addressing youth violence. She said, “Very good” and retreated back into the house. I found out later that Shaudee Nance, 18, was killed on the sidewalk next door to this house less than a month prior to Evans’ stabbing.

At the end of that block there was a small memorial of stuffed animals propped up by the curb on the street. It looked weathered and dirty, like it had been there for quite a long time. The house on the corner that it sat in front of was a small bungalow style home that was all boarded up. I photographed the memorial before we made our way to the next site.

We went to the 7000 block of South Justine where Krystal Rodney was shot and killed outside her grandmother’s house in what is believed to have been a domestic argument. As we drove up I could see an older woman on the porch, presumably her grandmother, and a few children playing around her. I told A & H not to stop. I would come back to this location. The remainder of the short block was thriving with young men and women in their yards and on their front porches.

The following location was where 2-year-old Aniya Crockett died from multiple blunt force traumas resulting from child abuse. The house was on a similarly busy block. A teenage boy was on the front porch reading at the site. As we drove up, a young boy rode into the front yard on his bicycle and glared at us. This is another location I will have to return to. I noticed as we drove away that there was a CeaseFire sticker in the front window that read, “Don’t Shoot. I want to grow up.”

The next location was in the 1600 block of West 64th Street where Andrew Hartrick was shot and killed while he and another man were sitting in a car on the corner beside a vacant lot in a no parking zone marked with yellow pillars. The site was where Paulina hits 64th Street, but there was no thru traffic because of a median sitting at the end of Paulina covered in manicured bushes and several tall trees. On that same corner just south of the vacant lot was a boarded up building. I photographed from across the busy street. One man laughed and yelled out to me as he passed, “Don’t click yet!”

The next site was just two blocks north on the corner of 62nd Street and Paulina where Schirron Hoskins, 18, was killed in a drive-by shooting. The site was in front of a church and across the street from a huge vacant lot. The tree on the corner of the intersection had stuffed animals and balloons around the base and signed poster board encircling the trunk with photographs of him and his friends attached. The area was really quiet when I started photographing. The only people around were a father and his son going to the park on the northeast corner of Paulina. The longer I photographed, the more people started to walk in the direction of the site. Four young men stood on the opposite corner from me and kept their distance. When I was finished and walking towards the car, they walked up to the memorial and circled around it talking and pointing at pictures and some of the writing. They appeared to be close to his age. I wondered whether they were friends of his.

From there we went to the home of 17-year-old Darterius Madison where he was shot and killed outside his home in what appeared to be a gang related incident. Knowing that the victim had gang affiliations made me very nervous about photographing the site of his death. Since he died outside his home, I would have to point my camera at the house that his family still resides in. When we approached the house, which was in the 6300 block of South Hamilton Avenue, I saw that the front door was open. The house that had tan siding with brown trim was two-stories high. There was a nice big newly built porch with a single green plastic chair on it. Each of the posts had a bouquet of flowers hanging from them in conical holders. The houses on the block were all very nice. Most had small yards in the front with flowers and plants adorning them. They looked out onto train tracks that were raised up a small hill across the street. I took a few images with out my tripod so I was not such a spectacle and got back in the car.

Next we tried to photograph the site on the 6200 block of South Laflin Street where Jerry Seals was found with a gunshot wound to the head. We passed when we saw that a large group of young men were hanging out in the front yard of the address. The front of the house had a wheelchair elevator instead of stairs to get on to the porch. One of the young men was holding on to it, arms outstretched, watching us as we passed. As we continued I noticed that the location was only one block from the area police precinct.

At 59th Street and Ashland Avenue, we parked in the M&M Liquor Store parking lot so that I could photograph the intersection where Deandre Murphy’s car came to a stop after he was shot while in a moving vehicle. The intersection was extremely busy with cars and pedestrians. I photographed with my back to the liquor store lot where a large group of people was leaned up against its shaded outside wall. An older man leaned against his car directly behind me and watched as I took my pictures. As we left, a woman came to the window of the car and asked H if he wanted a “square.” H responded, “No honey, we don’t smoke.” We pulled out to venture to the next site.

James Taylor was stabbed to death in the 1700 block of West 51st Street on the sidewalk adjacent to a vacant lot. A & H got out here so that they could keep an eye on me because it was a busy block. I photographed from across the street from the location. Just a few houses down from me a two men sitting on the front steps listening to a small AM/FM radio quickly turned into a larger group. A & H were clearly a hit with them. One young lady walked up to H and asked if he had handcuffs. He replied that he did not, but that he had a gun. The young lady suggested that he give it to the man she had approached the group with. She continued to hit on him and he politely declined her advances. She told him that she had 18 babies and each one was a different nationality. I don’t know if that was true, but wow! When I was done, I pulled A & H away from their new friends and we got back into the car.

Just down the street along a bright yellow fence was a little cart run by a Hispanic man and woman. We stopped there to get lunch, Elotes and mango slices with lemon juice and salt. H spoke to them in Spanish while A and I tried to translate.

We headed west across 51st Street to May and made a right onto a cul-de-sac. The afternoon was absolutely beautiful and everyone on this block was taking advantage of the nice weather. There was a man selling sno-cones from a folding table in front of his building, a few groups of people on porches, some teenage girls walking down the street, and a man walking his dog. The man who was walking his dog walked up the stairs to the address next to the site of Terrance Dishman’s death. A asked the man something about his dog and they continued to converse for the duration of my photographing while H tried to make conversation with the men on the porch behind me. The building next door to them was boarded up. H asked them if it ever gave them any problems. They responded that every time they board up the door someone comes and kicks it in again. As we were driving off the block a man parked in his car on the side of the road stuck his head out of the car and asked us if we were there to photograph the foreclosures. H said, “No, we’re the police.” The man nodded and we continued on our way. After we left, A said she asked the man with the dog about the homicide. He told her he didn’t want to talk about it.

The next site was where 21-month-old Jaymeon Wyatt was killed from blunt head trauma resulting from abuse. The address, in the 100 block of East 49th Street, was in a large yellow brick apartment building. The building, which took up about half a block, sat across from an equally large paved, gated off empty lot. There were two men sitting on the stoop of one of the building’s entrances. They seemed to be interested in what I was doing, but didn’t ask any questions. There was a “For Rent” sign on the first floor window.

Our last location for the day was in the 4300 block of South Federal where 39-year-old Bennie Madison was shot and killed. The site was just east of the under-pass for the expressway at the mouth of a newly paved street on the backside of a large complex of condos that look like they are still under construction. Across the street was a baseball field. While 43rd Street was busy with traffic, the mouth of Federal was closed off with large construction barriers. The lack of thru traffic made it a quiet and serene place and that is where our day ended, eerily peaceful amongst all the ghosts of violence.

Liquor Store Shooting (1)

Marcus Marshall
19 years old
Marshall was killed and a 21-year-old man was critically wounded when two men entered a South Side liquor store and began firing. Marshall was shot in the head and chest about 12:40 a.m. at the store in the 5700 block of South State Street. The other victim was taken in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to his head.

2 Police Officers Wounded & Another Fired On

Two plainclothes Chicago police officers attempting to serve a search warrant for weapons "on a known gang member" were shot and wounded early this morning in a South Side home. A 41-year old tactical officer, who has been on the force seven years, was shot in the arm. A 38-year-old officer, a six-year veteran, was wounded in the arm and leg. Weis said the officers entered the rear of the single-family home after identifying themselves as police officers and were shot at from behind a closed door. Other officers were stationed outside the front door. The incident happened about 12:20 a.m. Two male suspects at the home in the 7700 block of South Hoyne Avenue in the Gresham neighborhood were arrested. Police fired no shots. Police recovered an assault rifle and several handguns. No one was killed in this incident and both police officers are expected to fully recover.

A few hours later a Chicago police officer driving her own car to work was shot at by someone in a passing vehicle. Bullets hit the officer's car but she was uninjured. The shooting took place about 4:25 a.m. in the 3200 block of West Belmont Avenue, approximately a mile from the Belmont District headquarters where she was headed.