This weekend’s youngest victim, 3-year-old Mekhi James, was shot Saturday evening when someone opened fire at his father’s car as they traveled through the city’s Austin neighborhood, according to Chicago police records and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The boy’s father rushed him to West Suburban Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. The father, 27, sustained graze wounds to the abdomen during the incident.
The shootings happened from 6 p.m. Friday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday. The weekend of violence came just a few weeks after Chicago experienced its deadliest Memorial Day weekend in four years, with 10 people fatally shot and 39 injured.
As of June 20, Chicago has seen a 33% increase in shooting incidents and a 22% increase in murders from the same time last year, according to police data reviewed by CNN.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said Monday that multiple teenagers were shot. Two of them had walked to a nearby store and were shot multiple times while walking into their backyard.
Both teenagers died after being transported to the University of Chicago hospital, police said.
“Children in Chicago should not have to worry about walking just blocks from home to buy candy and never returning,” Brown said at a news conference.
Brown also said Chicago Police recovered 77 guns and made 43 gun arrests over the weekend and have confiscated 4,468 guns this year in an effort to curb the violence.
He said there are too many violent offenders who are not in jail.
“We need violent felons to stay in jail longer,” Brown said. “We need improvements to the home monitoring system.”
When asked what the issues were that lead to the violent weekend across the city, Brown answered with three things: “Gangs, guns and drugs.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the shooting of the 3-year-old “a heinous, unconscionable act of cowardice” and said the boy “had his whole life ahead of him.” Lightfoot has urged community members to come forward with information for police.