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, June 29, 2010

Gun Control

click to enlarge

I have looked at numerous articles arguing both sides of the debate on gun regulations. One argument is that more guns equals more gun violence. The other side of the debate is that more guns equals less violence. Both sides seem to have legitimate arguements with their own circumstantial evidence. One thing everyone seems to be avoiding is the fact that whether or not there are gun laws, the majority of gun related violent crime is carried out with fire arms that are unregistered or stolen. The people that are responsible gun owners who register their guns and keep them stored safely are not the ones we need to worry about. I can't see a guy buying a gun off the street and going out to register it so that when he kills someone he can be traced. It seems like some important issues are being ignored.

Here are some links for further information
New York Times editorial - The Court: Ignoring the Reality of Guns
Chicago Breaking News - Chicago's Gun Ban Unravels
CNN - High Court Strikes Down Chicago Handgun Ban


Here are some interesting statistics from Forensic Firearms Identification

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chicago's Gun Ban Overturned in the Supreme Court

McDonald vs Chicago

I am curious to see how this effects my project as the laws change and the summer progresses.

The Supreme Court has ruled Chicago's 28-year-old strict ban on handgun ownership unconstitutional. A 5-4 conservative majority of justices on Monday reiterated its two-year-old conclusion the Constitution gives individuals equal or greater power than states on the issue of possession of certain firearms for self-protection. The court grounded that right in the due process section of the 14th Amendment. The justices, however, said local jurisdictions still retain the flexibility to preserve some "reasonable regulations" of firearms including restrictions on gun possession by felons and the mentally ill and bans on guns in schools and government buildings.

Today's ruling follows a decision two years ago in which the court for the first time declared that the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of individuals. The amendment says, "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Otis McDonald, 76, one of the people who sued Chicago over the gun ban, thanked the justices "for having the courage to right a wrong, which has impacted many lives long ago and that will protect lives for many years to come." When asked by a reporter what type of handgun he would buy, he did not miss a beat. "I don't have no preference right now. I can use all of them," he said. Another person who sued the city, Colleen Lawson, said she was confident the ban would be struck down. "It's like in the Wild West... there's a higher court," she said. "The higher court is the constitution of the United States."

"If (the) safety of . . . law abiding members of the community would be enhanced by the possession of handguns in the home for self-defense, then the Second Amendment right protects the rights of minorities and other residents of high-crime areas whose needs are not being met by elected public officials." It was also noted that the number of Chicago homicide victims during the current year equaled the number of American soldiers killed during that same period in Afghanistan and Iraq

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association, said he was concerned that the "constitutional victory" of today's ruling will be "turned into a practical defeat by defiant city councils and cynical politicians who seek to nullify or revise this decision through a byzantine labyrinth of regulations and restrictions" to make handgun ownership "unaffordable and inaccessible." Addressing Daley, LaPierre said: "He's saying, 'I don't care if it's a constitutional right.' The opinion of Mayor Daley doesn't entitle him to throw out the Bill of Rights."

The justices sent the case back to Chicago for a lower court to issue the final decision, so the city's ban remains in effect for now. An attorney involved in the case advised against Chicagoans running out and purchasing handguns until a lower court rules on the matter later this summer.

Sunday Morning Drive-By

Yusuf Yusuf
30 years old
At about 12:10 a.m. Sunday morning, Yusuf was in the 5100 block of South Sacramento Avenue in the Southwest Side's Gage Park neighborhood when a male suspect opened fire from a vehicle, striking the victim in the back. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:49 a.m.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Update: West Garfield Park Strangling

Friday June 25th

Furda West
43 years old
Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation workers found the body of a 43-year-old woman in an alley in the 4300 block of West Carroll Avenue in West Garfield Park at about 8:15 a.m. The body was partially clothed. The woman was declared dead on the scene. The woman's name was not being released, pending positive identification by family members.

Update: Saturday, June 25th (3)

Jamar Harris
1 year old
Jamar was taken unresponsive to the the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital about 1:45 a.m. with bruising to his body, including on his stomach. He was being watched by his mother's boyfriend, who told police the boy had fallen down the stairs. The boy lived on the 7100 block of South Yates Boulevard on Chicago's South Side. An autopsy today showed that Jamar died of blunt force trauma and was a victim of child abuse. His death was ruled a homicide. He was pronounced dead at the hospital at 2:07 a.m.

Richard McGill
41 years old
One man was killed and another wounded in a drive-by shooting on the 8200 block of South Muskegon Avenue in the South Chicago neighborhood at about 2:20 a.m. this morning. The two men were sitting on a porch when a gunman rode up in what was believed to be a green Chevrolet Monte Carlo. The gunman then exited the car and fired shots at the men, striking them both in the legs. The gunman then got back into the vehicle and fled south from the scene. McGill was pronounced dead at 3:16 a.m. at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The surviving victim, a 26-year-old man, was also taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Ray Ressler
26 years old

At about 4 a.m., police responded to a report of people shot to find one man fatally shot and another critically wounded early this morning on the Near West Side on the 2100 block of South Wood Street. When officers arrived, they found a man dead and a second male victim critically injured.

Another Update: Week 4

click image for much better view

Chicago saw another 13 14 homicides this week. That brings the total for the summer up to 51 52 in the first 4 weeks. These homicides add up to 1,319 1,348 years of life were prematurely lost with the victim's average age being 26-years-old. Out of the 52 homicides so far, only 4 were caused by something other than gunshots.

Friday, June 25, 2010

South Side

Yesterday morning I went out to photograph with another one of C's freinds. Let's call him H. I met H at about 9 o'clock, grabbed some Starbuck's Coffee and were on our way to the South Side. We hopped on the Dan Ryan and got off at 95th Street. Our first site was 9300 South Ridgeland Ave where Rosie Morris murdered Patricia Clark after an argument took place in her home during a Thursday night card game. The neighborhood consisted of block after block of carbon copy bungalows with perfectly manicured lawns. The area was quiet. The only people I saw out were a few elderly African-American women on a morning walk. Nothing about this place was indicative of the violence that occurred there.

Next we went to the 7900 block of South Brandon where Dwoyne Baker, 29, was killed by gunfire from a passing car while on the sidewalk near his home. Brandon is the last street before Rocky Ledge Park and the lake. Single-family homes line one side of the street while super tall grass presses against a big chain linked fence on the opposite side of the street. The address that Baker was shot in front of was a modest looking home with kids toys strewn all over the small front yard. There was not a soul in sight, no one sitting on their front porches, no one out walking. It was eerily quiet as I photographed.

Nicholas Johnson, 18, was shot at least 6 times on the corner of Throop and 80th Street in what has been determined as a gang related incident. This neighborhood was as surprising to me as the first we one visited. It was a sleepy street where the residents were out weeding their gardens and having friendly chats with their neighbors. Directly on the corner was a big sign that read, "Welcome to the 7900 Throop Block Club - NO excessive car horn blowing, car washing or repairs, ball playing, littering or loitering, soliciting, dog nestling on lawns, illegal activities, loud music, or speeding - There is Strength in Unity." I imagine Johnson fell to the ground right beside that sign. As I set up my camera to photograph, a few cars sped by with the music blaring. A man across the street leaned up against the fence of his yard and watched me shoot. As we made our way out of that neighborhood, I noticed more signs on each corner of a similar ilk to the one I photographed.

H warned me that the next two locations were not going to be as nice. We turned on Bishop from 61st Street and it was as though we entered an entirely unfamiliar place. People all up and down the block were crowded on the front steps of the houses. We pulled up behind a guy that was cleaning his car in front of a house where 6-7 guys were standing on the porch. H stood in the street facing them with his hands behind his back as I photographed. I found this site hard to photograph. The street was narrow and the buildings were tall making it hard to get a good perspective in a landscape frame.

Our next location was one block west and almost exactly 1000 north of where we were. H thought I might like to see the what the area was like so instead of going back out to a main road, we took Laflin all the way through. The ratio of boarded up houses to ones that were lived in became about 3 abandoned to every 1 that was inhabited. On the way up, H stopped and talked to two little kids that were playing with fireworks in the street. He asked them what they had there. One responded that they weren't doing anything as he guiltily put his hands behind his head and the other said in a soft scared voice that they had firecrackers. When we finally arrived at 5115 S Laflin there was a couple on the front stoop. H asked them if they could step to the side for a few minutes so that I could photograph. The young man laid on the hood of his car that was parked just outside of my frame and continued to talk to his girlfriend as though we weren't even there. A pile of Kettle One bottles still sat in front of the building where Darius Murphy, 19, was found with a gunshot wound to the head on May 30th. We thanked the couple and proceeded to the last location for the day.

2800 W 46th Street, where 18-year-old Frankie Zamudio was shot in the back, was much different than the prior two locations. By now, the sun was overhead and the sky was full of perfectly formed clouds. It looked a bit like Pleasantville with the exception of all the garbage and liquor bottles scattered in the grass along the sidewalk. As I set up my camera a man and his child walked by, he smiled widely and said hello. Imagining someone being gunned down here was incredibly difficult.

Including the sites I photographed yesterday, I have now been to 21 out of 50 locations. I have a feeling I am going to be playing catch up for the whole summer.

Stabbing in Back of the Yards (1)

James Taylor
23 years old
Taylor died late Thursday after police discovered him on the ground on the 1700 block of West 51st Street with stab wounds to his neck in the Back of the Yards neighborhood at about 9:30 p.m. Taylor lived nearby in the 5100 block of South Hermitage Avenue. He was taken in critical condition to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:41 p.m.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weather Delay

It appears that the past two days have been pretty quiet. I have only seen one reported shooting. While this is wonderful, it appears to be out of the ordinary. Chicago saw some prety intense storms over the past few days including a tornado warning yesterday evening that left us with an ominous yellow-orange glowing sky as the sun set on the city. I hope to get out and resume photographing either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just Another Day in Paradise

corner drug store, not to be confused with a drug corner

Today X and I went back to Kostner and Congress (where we decided it was too dangerous to photograph last week). As we pulled off the highway, I recognized a few of the men that were standing on the corner outside the liquor store. I made a comment about it being too early in the morning for these guys to be out. X explained that a dope corner like this is always staffed. They do shifts, so it is likely that we'll never be able to come here when no one is around, even at 6 or 7 in the morning. Luckily, I found some additional info this week that said that Antoine Wright was killed in the alley abutting the backside of the liquor store. X found an angle that would put us out of the visual range of the pack. Phew! As I photographed there was some activity pretty far down the alley ahead of us. We watched as I waited for them to get out of my shot. X pointed out that a drug deal was going on. He narrated the play-by-play for me as it was happening. Before I realized what was going on, I took a few shots, so there may or may not be a hand off going on way in the background of a few of my images.

As we got in the car, I noticed a shiny tricked out black car pull up, stop, and watch us from about five car lengths away. Glad the camera was away and we were off to our next location. We pulled around on a small side street, passing what was clearly another dope spot, to get back to the main road. There were about 10 people hanging out outside this house that was the only house on the block. As we passed, they called out loudly. X said that they are calling out to let everyone know that someone that may be a cop is coming. That's why it is so hard to bust them. The more people they can afford to employ, the more security they can put out to watch. Many of the kids calling out couldn't have been more than 15 years old.

We drove by Kostner and Wilcox, where Terrance Jackson was killed on June 18th. It was a busy street and there were lots of people around. We got stared down as we passed. X joked that they must have no idea what to make of us. We couldn't locate the exact spot, so we went to the station to look it up. X recognized the address and said we should try to get there earlier because it would be really busy by now. We picked another address in the area to hit before calling it a day.

The next stop would be 2431 South Central Park Avenue where Jorge Luis Flores, 22, was killed after and argument. There were a few people sitting on the porch at the residence and a few kids playing in the front yard. There was no way I could photograph there today. Before totally giving up, I remembered that the location code for the homicide was "other." I thought maybe we could pull around the alley in the back and see what it looked like from there. The gangway gate was left open and I could see down the side of the house to the kids playing in the front. X said that there is no code for gangway and it is possible that this is where it happened. I took out my camera and took a few images. I was less concerned with safety here than with being respectful to Flores' family, who were just out of sight of me and my camera. What would they think if they knew I was photographing the site of Flores' death? Should I have stopped and had a conversation with them about my project? Was it cowardly to sneak out of their sight and steal a few images? These are questions I definitely need think about as I continue my photographing.

Update: 9 Injured, 2 Dead in Shootings Around the City Monday Night into Tuesday Morning

Divai Serna
20 years old
Serna was found dead along with an injured woman on Monday night in the Belmont Gardens neighborhood. Police found the victims about 8 p.m. in the 3000 block of North Kolmar Avenue. Both were at a gathering at that address when someone entered the yard and opened fire.

DuJuan Johnson
29 years old

Chicago police are conducting a death investigation after a body was reported about 10:45 a.m. in a gangway beside a building in the 6800 block of South Morgan Street in the South Side's Englewood neighborhood. Johnson was found with a gunshot wound to the head and a handgun in his hand.

The Bodies of 2 Teenage Boys Found on Chicago's South Side

Olayinka Ibitoye
17 years old
Deante Coleman
17 years old
Two teenage boys who were slain and left along some South Side railroad tracks might have been attacked after a party on Sunday. The naked bodies of the victims, who had not been identified by authorities, were found about 9 a.m. Monday in the 9000 block of South Holland Road in the West Chatham neighborhood. Sources said both had been shot. Law enforcement sources confirmed that the victims had been at a party and that detectives were investigating links between the slayings and reports of two abductions -- one at 48th Street and Indiana Avenue, and another in the 300 block of East 51st Street. The two were pronounced dead at the scene at 9:50 a.m. I will update with more details as they come in.

5648 South Morgan

Shannon Byars, 39

4750 South Forrestville

Frenchie Ford, 25 & William Huntley, 25

Monday, June 21, 2010

Some New Discoveries (2)

I just came across two homicides over the past few weeks that escaped my radar.

June 12th

Jaime Sanchez-Negrete
18 years old
Jaime was killed in what is being called assault in the 5800 block of South California Ave. in Chicago's Gage Park neighborhood. Police responded to a report of a man down in a backyard with blood near his head. He had a gunshot wound behind his left ear. No other details are known.

June 16th

Jorge Luis Flores
22 years old
Jose Garcia, who has since been charged with first degree murder, and Flores were in a fight before Garcia allegedly returned to the scene with a handgun and shot Flores in the right shoulder at 5:48 a.m. Monday morning in the 2400 block of South Central Park Ave. in the Little Village community. Flores was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital at 12:33 p.m.

The Continuation of a Bloody Weekend (4)

It has been reported that somewhere between 40 and 50 people were shot in Chicago from Friday night to early Monday morning. Five of those injured by gunshots were attending a BBQ in the 1300 block of West Hastings Street. This address is part of the same housing complex where I photographed the site of Napolean Gilmore's death just last week. Here is a clip from ABC News.

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In addition to the 5 homicides listed below, Waseem Smith, Barry Smith, Leon Smith, and Durwin Hackman were also killed this weekend making the total toll 8.

Sunday June 20th through Monday June 21st

Darryl Dunn
44 years old
Dunn was found slain about 2:02 a.m. with a gunshot wound to his head in the 7200 block of South Marshfield Avenue in the West Englewood neighborhood.

Credale Woulard
28 years old
Woulard was shot in the chest at 75th and Halsted streets at 2:45 a.m. and was pronounced dead an hour later at Stroger Hospital.

Larry Johnson
25 years old
About 1:52 a.m., in the 6400 block of South Ingleside Avenue in the Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side, Johnson was shot in his abdomen and left arm. He was pronounced dead at 3:36 a.m. at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Pierre York
19 years old
York was walking with a friend in the 1800 block of West 87th Street in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the South Side at about 9:20 p.m. Friday when a third person approached and began to argue with victim. The assailant pulled out a gun and shot York in the head. York's friend called police after the shooting. He was taken in critical condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center where he was pronounced dead on Sunday night at 10:07 p.m.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

15 Injured and 1 Dead in 6 Shootings Overnight

Durwin Hackman
20 years old
An argument over a female led to the shooting of three men on the Far South Side Saturday night and the death of one of those men. The incident happened at 11:19 p.m. in the 700 block of West 111th Street in the Roseland neighborhood. The three victims -- Hackman, who was shot in the back, a 19-year-old who was shot in the stomach, and a 21-year-old who was shot in his left arm -- got into the argument with several other men, who began shooting and then fled the scene. The three victims were all transported to Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn. Hackman, was transported in serious-to-critical condition. The 19-year-old was in critical condition and the third man's condition had stabilized. Hackman was declared dead at 12:09 a.m. At the time of his death, Hackman, who has had arrests on misdemeanor charges in the past, was facing a misdemeanor marijuana-posession case in Chicago and was due in court next week.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Update: More Violence in Chicago's Little Village (3)

Waseen Smith
Barry Smith
45 years old
Leon Smith
28 years old

Three people were killed in what appeared to be a gang-related shooting early this morning the Little Village neighborhood. The shooting happened about 3 a.m. by the residence of Waseem and Barry Smith on the 2200 block of South Springfield. Ogden District officers heard gunshots in the area, toured it and found the three victims. One of the victims was found shot in the driver's seat of a vehicle, while a second victim was found shot in the driver's seat of another. A third victim was found wounded lying on the ground. One of the victims, an undientified man thought to be in his 20s, was dead on the scene. The other two victims were pronounced dead at Mt. Sinai Hospital. All three of the victims have extensive criminal records, mostly convictions on felony drug charges.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Week 3

click for a much better view

We are only three weeks into summer and the above map of Chicago is already blanketed with yellow pins. There have been 38 murders so far and the deceased are just a small fraction of the people who have been shot and hospitalized. I have visited and photographed the sites of 13 homicides so far and I am having a hard time keeping up.


Friday, June 18th

Terrance Jackson
34 years old
Jackson was on the street on the 4400 block of West Wilcox Street in the West Garfield Park neighborhood at about 1:10 a.m. when two male assailants approached and fired shots, striking him in the chest. He was taken in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:46 a.m.

Thursday, June 17th

Darterius Madison
17 years old
Madison, wounded in a shooting Wednesday night outside his home on the 6300 block of South Hamilton Avenue in the South Side's West Englewood neighborhood has died. Madison was wounded in the back and pelvis shortly before midnight Wednesday. He was pronounced dead at 7:28 a.m. this morning at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Police say Madison had gang affiliations and the shooting appeared gang-related.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Morning Gunfire (1)

Michelle Maldonado
19 years old
A young woman was shot to death in what Chicago police said may have been a gang-related attack in the Little Village neighborhood this morning. The woman was shot while on the street in the 3900 block of West 32nd Street just after 8:35 a.m. Police have not been able to confirm that the woman herself is a gang member, but investigators believe she spends time with members of a local gang and was shot by rival gang members. Witnesses told police that the attack began when a man in his late teens or early 20s who got out of a beige car, that may have been a Mercury Grand Marquis, and had three other young men in it. The man walked behind the woman, then shot her several times, causing the woman to fall to the ground. The man got back into the car and drove away, heading south through an alley.

I Don't Want You Out There Without a Radio

C had a bunch of meetings today, so she got her friend M to take me out to photograph. It was a bit of a rocky start. I waited at our meeting point for about 1/2 hour before C called to let me know that M would be there soon and that they were just having problems finding a radio. She apologized but said she didn't want me out there without one. Understood. I had a list of 4 places to shoot so we got on our way, one hour, one new car battery, and one police radio later.

The first stop was attempt nuumber two at 3716 South Blackstone where 18-year-old Jonathan Lee was shot and killed June 4th. I tried to photograph there last week with C, but there was a large group of kids surrounding his memorial, so we decided to come back. We turned onto Blackstone from 67th Street and it was remarkably quiet. As I photographed I began to notice graffiti all over the surrounding buildings that read R.I.P. It was even on the mailboxes. A few boys walked by. One joked with M, "I swear I didn't do anything officer." M laughed and said he was not in trouble to which the boy responded, "That's cause you didn't catch me yet." As we got in the car another young man walked down the street and entered the building next to us. Something that looked like suspenders, that I soon realized was a baby carrier, hung from the back of his shoulders. He looked like he couldn't have been more than 16, maybe he was babysitting, maybe not.

After packing up there, we headed northwest to 4750 South Forrestville. At this address on June 9th, Frenchie Ford and William Huntley, both 25, were shot and killed at a post-funeral gathering. The address was near the corner in a large brick apartment building on a quiet little side street. On the opposite side of the street there were beautiful mansions that have definitely seen better days. For me, it was a suprising location for such violence being that it felt so serene. As we drove from the location we traversed streets that looked as though they could be in one of the more expensive parts of town.

We drove north on Damen, looking for 28th Street, which was pretty hard to find since it is just a small strip way back in an industrial zone. We drove back towards the location on a truck-lined street that was flanked with manufacturing complexes, chainlink fences, and lots of overgrown grass. Christopher Walton was shot and killed here in a car at 10:33 p.m. In the day time, the area is a thriving zone for trucking groceries, but at night, I imagine this area to be as quiet as a mouse. It is so off the beaten path that I imagine Walton must have been brought here to face his death. I imagined him knowing that he was going to die. I wondered what he did to deserve this fate. To be shot to death in a car in the silence of the night with the Chicago skyline shimmering in the background.

On the way to the next location we drove by Chicago's Juvenile Detention Center. It is a big gray and white building just west of Ashland on Roosevelt. M told me that when they are bringing kids there they announce it on the radio by saying, "Bringing a naughty to the audi." Right across the street in a similar building is Chicago's FBI Headquarters. Our last stop was at 1339 West Washburne where Napoleon Gilmore, 22, was killed. 1339 was part of a public housing complex, so we pulled into the parking lot and got out. The builings in the complex were in rows perpendicular to the street. Between each set of apartments there were playgrounds. 1339 sat right next to the playground within its area. As I photographed I could see a few of the residents peeking out their windows watching me. One young woman came to her door and yelled over to us asking what I was photographing. She was very nice until I picked up my camera to go and she insisted that I not point my camera in her direction.

My addresses were all checked off for today so M kindly dropped me off at my doorstep.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Welcome to Hell

I went out photographing this morning with X. At about 9:30 I got into his car with a white chocolate mocha in hand (I am paying him in cofffee) and we headed to the West Side. Our first stop was 603 Homan, where Michael Stanciel, 30, was killed over the weekend. The spot was at a busy intersection just 2 blocks from the M & K Grocery (where we photographed last week). When we pulled up there were a few guys hanging out on the corner. As X predicted, they vanished as soon as they saw my camera. As I was photographing, X was explaining the current climate of the neighborhood to me. He said that a cop killed a gang member very close by to where we were just a few weeks ago and that there were riots afterwards. He said that the environment in the neighborhood is still pretty hostile.

The next address we went to was 130 North Francisco where 21 year old Marques Betties was also shot and killed this past weekend. I was suprised to find that it was on the corner under the el tracks beside Cather Elementary School. It was never mentioned in the media that this incident happened so close to a school. A memorial that was still standing on the corner was oddly juxtaposed by children playing on the playground just beyond the gates behind it. At one point a young man stopped his car on the side by where I was photographing and asked X if I was taking photos of the memorial. X explained what I was doing and the man did a u-turn and went back the way he came. X thought he must have been Marques' friend and that someone must have called to tell him that someone was photographing in the area. He seemed to only be there to find out what we were up to.

We left that spot and swung by the Police Station. X misplaced the exact address of the last location so we went inside to look it up. I got a quick tour of the station (booking rooms, juvenile detention, lock-up). From there we jumped on 290 and headed to Kostner and Congress. Antoine Wright, 37, was gunned down right along side the liquor store that sits on that intersection. We pulled into the gas station across the street. X told me to hold tight. A group of guys were hanging out in the parking lot of the store that seemed like they were up to no good. One of them was tweeking out. He was jabbering and all amped up. Another one of them kept putting his tank top up over his face to hide his identity. X pointed out which guy was the dope boy, which was the peon that worked exclusively to feed his crack habit, etc. This was all speculation, but X thought the situation looked bad and that we should come back to this spot another time. I couldn't have agreed more. If this corner is what hell looks like I wouldn't be suprised.

Violent Tuesday Evening / Wednesday Morning (3)

Cojuan Harper
17 years old
Harper was standing outside a Citgo gas station there when two people wearing black hooded sweatshirts approached, and at least one opened fire wounding Harper in the chest, arm and back. The incident happened at about 5:40 p.m. in the 2900 block of East 83rd Street in the South Chicago neighborhood yesterday afternoon. Harper was pronounced dead at 6:28 p.m. at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He was gang-affiliated.

Adrian Gates
29 years old
Gates was shot in the head on the 3600 block of West Grand Avenue. The shooting happened about 7:15 p.m. when a van drove up and people inside began shooting in his direction. He was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital.

Octavio Pena
31 years old
At about 11:15 p.m., officers responded to a call of an unresponsive man lying on the street in the 4300 block of West 87th Street in the Scottsdale neighborhood on Chicago's Southwest Side. When they arrived police discovered Pena unresponsive with a gunshot wound to his face. He was pronounced dead at 12:02 a.m.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

White Castle Drive-Thru Shooting

Brandon Brown
25 years old
A man has died five days after he was shot at a White Castle drive-thru in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. In the early morning hours last Thursday, Brown was a passenger in a car waiting in a White Castle drive-thru line in the 1500 block of West Garfield Boulevard. A suspect, described as in his 20s, walked up to the passenger side where Brown was sitting and shot him at close range, Kubiak. Brown got into another vehicle and was taken to Provident Hospital of Cook County. He was later taken to Stroger where he died from his injuries at 1 a.m. today. Police idenitified Brown as a gang member.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunday, June 13th (3)

Kevin Jones
15 years old
A teen was shot in the back and killed when a fight broke out at a party early today in the 7800 block of South Carpenter Street in the South Side Gresham neighborhood. The victim was at a party in a first-floor apartment when a fight broke out. Three male suspects left the party and went outside. One pulled out a handgun and fired several shots into the apartment. A bullet went through the window and struck the victim in the back. Police responded to reports of shots fired at about 2:15 a.m. He was pronounced dead at 2:56 a.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Ernest Sanford
28 years old
A man was found fatally shot early today in the 7000 block of South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in the South Side's Park Manor neighborhood at about 3:20 a.m. Police found Sanford dead on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound.

Michael Stanciel
30 years old
Police responded to a call of a person shot in the 600 block of North Homan Avenue on the West Side in the city's East Garfield Park neighborhood shortly after 11 p.m. and found Stanciel with multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to Stroger Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:51 p.m.

Hit-and-Run Ruled a Homicide

As it turns out, one of the hit-and-run incidents that occurred this weekend has been ruled a homicide and I will be including it in my work.

Ludjana Dido
20 years old
Dido was going out for a bite to eat with friends when she and her friends got into a dispute with another group of people in the 2700 block of West Roscoe Street. She was getting into a car with friends at about 1:10 a.m. when she was struck by a white vehicle. She was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where she was declared dead at 2:26 a.m. Ludjana was 5½ months pregnant.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Defining Homicide?

Overnight, 2 people in Chicago were killed in seperate hit-and-run incidents. What I think I can tell from muddling through a bunch of law speak is that these are considered either acts of criminal negligence or reckless homicide. Although these incidents both resulted in a loss of life by the hand of another person, I am chosing to exclude them from the project because it appears that they were not intentional.

Here is a breakdown of the Illinois State Laws regardinig homicide:

What is First Degree Murder?

Under Illinois Law (720 ILCS 5/9-1), a person commits the Felony crime of First Degree Murder when:

(a) they kill an individual without lawful justification if, in performing the acts which cause the death:

(1) they either intend to kill or do great bodily harm to that individual or another, or know that such acts will cause death to that individual or another; or

(2) they know that such acts create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to that individual or another; or

(3) they are committing, or attempting to commit, a forcible felony other than second degree murder.

In Illinois, First Degree Murder is punishable from a minimum of 20 years in prison to a maximum of life, including the possibility of a death sentence, if aggravating factors are present as provided for in 720 ILCS 5/9-1(b)1 through (b)21. The entire prison sentence for First Degree Murder must be served. There is no “good time” or any time reduced from the actual prison sentence. In addition, certain factors may add to any sentence or be considered an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.

What is Second Degree Murder?

Under Illinois Law, (720 ILCS 5/9-2), a person commits the Felony crime of Second Degree Murder when:

(a) they commit the offense of First Degree Murder as defined in paragraphs (1) or (2) of subsection (a) of Section 9-1 (see above) of this Code and either of the following mitigating factors are present:

(1) At the time of the killing they are acting under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation by the individual killed or another whom the offender endeavors to kill, but he negligently or accidentally causes the death of the innocent individual; or

(2) At the time of the killing the believe the circumstances to be such that, if they existed, would justify or exonerate the killing under the principles stated in Article 7 of this Code, but their belief is unreasonable. Basically, Article 7 provides that a person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or another against such other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to themselves or another, or the commission of a forcible felony.

Unlike First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder is a Class 1 Felony that that carries from 4 to 20 years in prison. However, as an alternative to jail, probation is available for up to four years.

What is Involuntary Manslaughter?

Under Illinois Law, 720 ILCS 5/9-3(a), a person commits the Illinois Felony Crime of Involuntary Manslaughter when they unintentionally kill an individual without lawful justification if their acts, whether lawful or unlawful, which caused the death, are such as are likely to cause death or great bodily harm to some individual, and they perform them recklessly.

Under Illinois sentencing laws, Involuntary Manslaughter is a Class 3 Felony but can be raised to a Class 2 Felony if aggravating factors exist as provided for in 720 ILCS 5/9(e)2 through (e)(9) and (f). Probation is usually available for a Class 3 Felony, however, if aggravating circumstances are present, a mandatory jail sentence may be required.

What is Reckless Homicide?

Under Illinois Law, 720 ILCS 5/9-3(a), a person commits the Illinois Felony crime of Reckless Homicide if by their reckless acts they kill an individual and the cause of death consists of the driving of a motor vehicle or operating a snowmobile, all terrain vehicle, or watercraft. Further, a person commits the Illinois crime of Reckless Homicide if they unintentionally kill an individual while driving a vehicle and use an incline in a roadway, such as a railroad crossing, bridge approach, or hill, to cause the vehicle to become airborne.

Under Illinois sentencing laws, Reckless Homicide is a Class 3 Felony but can be raised to a Class 2 Felony if aggravating factors exist as provided for in 720 ILCS 5/9(e)2 through (e)(9) and (f). Under Illinois sentencing laws, a Class 3 Felony is punishable between 2 to 5 years in prison. Under Illinois sentencing laws, a Class 2 Felony is punishable between 3 to 7 years in prison. Probation is usually available for Class 3 and a Class 2 Felony. However, if aggravating circumstances are present, a mandatory jail sentence may be required.

2 More Dead in Shootings Yesterday

Marques Betties
21 years old
At 1:52 a.m., police found Betties fatally shot in his back at 130 N. Francisco Avenue in the East Garfield Park neighborhood. He was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital at 2:06 a.m.

Adrian Cantor
29 years old
Cantor died from injuries sustained from a gunshot wound to the chest at 5:51 p.m.on Wednesday in the 8900 block of South Burley Avenue. He was pronounced dead at 3:37 a.m. at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital today.

Friday, June 11, 2010

3670 West Ohio

Jeffery Pinkerton, 27 & Patrick Evan, 28

Week 2

click for much better view

This week saw 13 more homicides making the total after just two weeks of summer a staggering 25.

4 Spots, 2 Images

So I lied. I did end up going out to photograph with C yesterday afternoon. The weather took a turn for the better and the afternoon light began to peak through, so we made the call. I met C at around 3. She had a list of 7 sites that were in the general vicinity. I knew photographing in the afternoon was going to present some challenges. Being out in the morning, there were not many people around, but on such a nice afternoon neighborhoods would be thriving and I knew could not count on capturing the isolation I was looking for in photographing these sites.

As we were driving south to the first site, C gave me a rundown of the history of the neighborhoods we were driving through. At one point we past a long strip of beautiful gray and brown stone mansions. C pointed out that every 3rd house had the windows boarded up. They bordered a park where a portion of the Olympics would have been held had Chicago won the bid.

First we went to 6500 South King Drive where Quintin Sharp, 25, was killed by an armed security guard after trying to run him over near the gate of the Parkway Gardens housing complex. As we pulled into the complex, it was apparent that people were hanging out outside of their apartments and enjoying the day, but the spot where Sharp was killed eerily seemed to be invisibly cordoned off from the activity that surrounded the site. It made me uncomfortable and I was visibly shaking.

Our next address was 6716 South Blackstone where 18-year-old Jonathan Lee was shot and killed. Driving past the Oakwoods Cemetery on 67th Street reminded me a lot of the way it looks to pass the Graceland Cemetery in Uptown, a high wall on one side of the road and brick buildings that could have been transplanted from Wrigleyville on the opposing side of the street, only these buildings were largely abandoned. We turned on to Blackstone to see a crowd of 15-20 kids hanging out around a memorial for Lee made of stuffed animals, brightly drawn upon poster paper, and from what I could tell, Colt 45-40s. As we passed C & I discussed whether I wanted to photograph with all the people there. She even offered to go back and talk to them and ask them if they could clear away so that I could take some pictures. I decided we should respect their grieving time and come back another day when the site wasn't so fresh and active.

Our next address was 5648 South Morgan Street in Englewood where Shannon Byars was shot and killed on June 6th. The 5600 block of South Morgan is a tree-lined street with mostly single-family homes. Many people were sitting on their porches watching us as we passed. Much like the site of Sharp's death, this spot also felt desolate in comparison the immediate surrounding area. A memorial wrapped around the base of a lone standing tree marked the location. Taped to it was a piece of brown paper bag that read, "RIP Big Hommie," it was flanked by stuffed animals, balloons, candles, and Patron bottles. As I photographed a family walked across the street. They passed the memorial as though it wasn't even there.

We had time to make one last stop. C had a name and address that was not on my radar. The date of the incident was also in the future. She wasn't sure about the false information and it was close by so we went there to see if we could figure out what happened. The address was an empty lot on a similar residential street. There were no apparent signs of anything happening there. She pulled ahead to the next block where a few 20 something year old guys were hanging out on the street. They were from the neighborhood and didn't recognize the name or circumstance. We decided to call it a day and go back out early next week.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Photographing Today = FAIL

First it was too bright and now it's too overcast. The weather looks terrible for the weekend. I am hoping can get out on Tuesday with police woman c when the weather breaks. I'm really excited about the photographs I made yesterday and can't wait to get out there and take more.

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9 Shot, 2 Dead Overnight

Since yesterday afternoon 9 people were shot in various places around the city. A man was shot a few blocks away from the M & K Store in East Garfield Park where 2 men were killed on Tuesday night (and where I was photographing yesterday), a biker in Logan Square was shot in the leg in a drive-by, a man was shot near a church in Lawndale, a 14-year-old girl was shot in a drive-by in the South Chicago neighborhood, and two teens were shot in Chicago Lawn.

William Huntley
Frenchie Ford
25 years old
Two men were killed and another wounded Wednesday afternoon in a shooting in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side that stemmed from an argument at a funeral. Police said the three shooting victims were attending a funeral when quarreling broke out among the mourners. About 1:30 p.m., the argument resumed, and the three victims were shot during a post-funeral gathering in the backyard of a residence on the 4700 block of South Forrestville Avenue. Police said the victims were gang-affiliated, but the person for whom the funeral was held was not.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First Day of Photographing

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.

Wednesday, June 9th (1)

Antoine Wright
37 years old
A Near North Side man who was wounded Monday in an apparent drive-by shooting on the street near Congress Parkway and Kostner Avenue in the East Garfield Park neighborhood died today from his injuries. He was pronounced dead at 11:25 p.m. at Stroger Hospital.

A Rainy Tuesday Doesn't Halt Killings (4)

Michael McMillion
24 years old
The owner of a Northwest Side pawn shop called Fullerton Pawners at 5900 W. Fullerton Ave. in the city's Belmont Cragin community shot and killed one of three men who tried robbing his business at gunpoint shortly before 1 p.m..
One robber was killed at the scene, while a second may have been wounded before he and a third man fled on foot.
McMillion was convicted in 2006 of robbery and sentenced to the Cook County Sheriff's boot camp program. Late Tuesday, police weren't saying whether the shop owner would face criminal charges or whether he was registered to own a firearm.

Jeffrey Pinkerton
27 years old
Patrick Evans
28 years old
A man wearing a ski mask and dressed in all-black walked into an East Garfield Park neighborhood grocery store this evening and shot two men to death. The two killed were described by police as gang members. Police received a call about shots fired at the M and K Grocery on the 3600 block of West Ohio Street at about 6:28 p.m. Neighbors said the two men who were killed might have been playing pool in the back of the store. According to court records, in May 2000, Evans was sentenced to consecutive prison terms of 3 years for delivery of marijuana and 5 years for delivery of cocaine, and in January 2004 received another 3 years for drug possession. Pinkerton was put on probation for a June 2002 conviction for cocaine delivery and then in December 2004 was found guilty of armed robbery and battery and sentenced to 8 years in prison. He was paroled in March 2008. Police said both were members of the Conservative Vice Lords.

Julian Gurierrez
24 years
Officers responded to shots fired in the 4600 block of West Belmont Avenue at about 9:25 p.m. in the Cragin neighborhood on Chicago's Northwest Side. Arriving officers found Gutierrez unresponsive and laying on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound to the head.