clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

A look at one holiday weekend on the streets of Chicago: 7 dead, 30 wounded

Chicago Police investigate in the 5200 block of West Ohio, where an officer shot a man during an "armed encounter" early Saturday. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The double-digit gun violence statistics that beset Chicago this Memorial Day weekend — a federal holiday that closes most businesses and all of the city’s 514 public schools, pouring youth onto the streets just as temperatures spike — have become a grisly holiday tradition.

By 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, seven people were dead, and 30 people had been wounded in gun violence across Chicago since 5 p.m. Friday. Six people were killed, 52 wounded in shootings during the holiday weekend last year. Six people were killed, and a staggering 56 were wounded in shootings in 2016. Twelve people were killed and 43 were shot during Memorial Day Weekend in 2015.

In an effort to curb the holiday’s expected violence, the Chicago Police Department flooded the streets with more than 1,000 additional officers, who were to stay deployed citywide through Tuesday.

Video by Ashlee Rezin | People cry outside Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, after a 36-year-old man was killed
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT: Witnesses are overcome by emotion as police investigate the scene of a homicide in Austin. Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Shortly before 3 a.m. Saturday, officers patrolling on foot responded to a ShotSpotter call in the 5200 block of West Ohio Street, where they chased an armed man down an alley and ultimately exchanged gunfire. The man was shot multiple times and was hospitalized in serious condition. The two officers had no apparent injuries.

Chicago Police investigate in the 5200 block of West Ohio, where an officer shot a man during an “armed encounter” early Saturday. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
Chicago Police investigate in the 5200 block of West Ohio, where an officer shot a man during an “armed encounter” early Saturday. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Less than two-and-a-half miles from that alley, community leaders unpacked hamburgers later that morning for an anti-violence basketball tournament meant to occupy kids as temperatures climbed to record highs on this habitually violent holiday weekend, and to forge new connections across sharply defined gang boundaries.

Video by Eliza Davidson
A basketball tournament hosted by anti-violence activists in West Garfield Park. Annie Costabile/Sun-Times

“That was the premise, to bring some guys to get to know each other,” said 58-year-old Frederick Seaton, an organizer who has lived in the community his entire life. “To let them know, this guy, he isn’t really a bad guy. They can get along, they can coexist. Get to know people on the other side of Pulaski.”

An anti-violence organization hosted an outdoor basketball tournament between teens and young men from rival groups Saturday in East Garfield Park. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times
An anti-violence organization hosted an outdoor basketball tournament between teens and young men from rival groups Saturday in East Garfield Park. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

Thirty-nine minutes after the tournament was set to end at 8 p.m., 20-year-old Bobbieana Slyons was walking near her home with her mother and daughter in the 800 block of West 76th Street when she was shot in the head and killed at 8:39 p.m. Police said they believe Slyons was not the intended target.

A man who lives in Presidential Towers in the West Loop asked not to be named after he described hearing multiple gunshots he thought were fireworks, followed by police sirens. A 27-year-old man collapsed with multiple gunshot wounds in the building’s lobby, where the resident said he and his friends regularly wait for Uber rides. “It’s really scary. Nothing like this happens around here.”

Family members say China Marie Lyons-Upshaw, 17, a “lovable person” and a “fashion diva,” had been excitedly planning for prom next week and was spending Saturday night at home. She was in her Bronzeville bedroom when, at 9:02 p.m., witnesses say a man who had been “playing with a handgun” dropped the weapon, which “fell to the ground and discharged,” fatally shooting the teen in the chest.

Video by Justin Jackson | Police investigate a fatal shooting shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday, May 26, 2018 in the 800 block of Ea
China Marie Lyons-Upshaw was fatally shot in her Bronzeville bedroom Saturday. Maria De La Guardia/Sun-Times

Anti-violence activist Andrew Holmes joined the crowd that gathered outside Lyons-Upshaw’s family’s apartment in the 800 block of East 49th Street as Saturday night became Sunday morning. “It’s just Memorial Day [weekend],” he said. “But it’s just a typical day where we lose the lives of our children and our teenagers, and also our adults.”

People grieve outside an apartment in the 800 block of East 49th Street, where a 17-year-old girl was shot to death Saturday night. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
People grieve outside an apartment in the 800 block of East 49th Street, where a 17-year-old girl was shot to death Saturday night. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Memorial Day Monday had a dual meaning for the Chicago families impacted by gun violence this weekend. Family and friends Lyons-Upshaw gathered for a hastily-organized memorial for the teen at the University of Chicago Charter School’s Woodlawn Campus Monday evening, the high school where the teen would have joined her classmates for graduation in less than a month.

Video by Maria de la Guardia | China Lyons, who was fatally shot on Saturday in a Bronzeville apartment, had plans to go to prom
China Marie Lyons-Upshaw was fatally shot in her Bronzeville bedroom Saturday. Maria De La Guardia/Sun-Times

A crime scene in the 5100 block of West Flournoy became an impromptu vigil in the hours after Jeremy Ross, 31, was fatally shot in the chest and head Monday morning by a friend. The two were arguing when one man began firing shots at the other, according to a woman who identified herself as the mother of Ross’ girlfriend. “He was a great guy,” the woman said. Ross, a resident of south suburban Harvey, had just left a birthday celebration with friends and family, including his mother, according to the witness at the scene. Relatives soon gathered at the crime scene near the I-290 off-ramp instead.

Two women cry at the scene where a 31-year-old man was shot and killed Monday morning in the 5100 block of West Flournoy. Tyler Lariviere/Sun-Times
Two women cry at the scene where a 31-year-old man was shot and killed Monday morning in the 5100 block of West Flournoy. Tyler Lariviere/Sun-Times
Video by Eliza Davidson
A 31-year-old man was shot and killed Monday morning in the 5100 block of West Flournoy. Tyler Lariviere/Sun-Times

As the holiday weekend wound down, the final fatality was Mosiah Johnson, 30, who was shot in the head in the 800 block of South Albany at 9:09 p.m. Monday, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Video by Maria de la Guardia
Police said the circumstances of the East Garfield Park shooting weren’t immediately known, but detectives are investigating. Maria De La Guardia/Sun-Times

A woman who had lived for more than 50 years in the 1800 block of West Cullerton Street where a 15-year-old boy was shot and wounded just before midnight Sunday night said she braces for warm weather in her community, which other neighbors gathered around the crime scene described as “family-oriented” and “pretty quiet” most of the year.

Dispatch audio included
Police respond to a shooting in the 1800 block of West Cullerton Street. Annie Costabile/Sun-Times

“I don’t like summer ‘cuz all this stuff happens,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified. “My thing is the fall and winters, because everybody is barricaded inside, safe and sound.”

A family crosses the street while Chicago Police investigate in the 1800 block of West Cullerton, where a 15-year-old boy suffered multiple gunshot wounds late Sunday. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
A family crosses the street while Chicago Police investigate in the 1800 block of West Cullerton, where a 15-year-old boy suffered multiple gunshot wounds late Sunday. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

By Matthew Hendrickson, Nader Issa, Evan F. Moore, Ashlee Rezin, Lizzie Schiffman Tufano and Tom Schuba | Chicago Sun-Times

Contributing: Annie Costabile, Eliza Davidson, Maria De La Guardia, Marcus DiPaola, Taylor Hartz, David Struett