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Anti-violence rally held in Englewood near scene of baby shower shooting

CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson speaks at an anti-violence rally Tuesday near the home where six people were shot during a baby shower. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

A police-led anti-violence rally drew more than 100 people Tuesday evening on the same Englewood block where an attack left six people — including two children — shot over the weekend.

Glen Brooks, the Chicago Police Department’s director of public engagement, led the “Operation Wake Up” rally at the corner of 64th and Seeley.

“We don’t do this for every shooting. We do it because a line has been crossed,” Brooks told those assembled outside. “This is unacceptable. And it’s not only unacceptable for the family, it’s unacceptable for every last one of us standing out here tonight.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson and Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) were among those who showed up to the gathering near the house that was the scene of Saturday’s shooting, which happened during a baby shower.

“There’s no reason you can’t have a baby shower and little kids out in front of their home, and they have to worry about getting shot,” Johnson said. “We can’t allow that to become normal for our children.”

Ruth Harris, whose son was fatally shot six years ago, went to the rally with her 13-year-old grandson.

Harris said she drove past the baby shower on her way home from her grandson’s football game on Saturday and saw the house covered with decorations before the shooting.

“It’s just awful. I wouldn’t want it to happen to my kids or grandkids,” Harris said. “I hope and pray that this does help.”

The family living at the house stood on its front steps as the rally went on.

Emanuel and Johnson went over to speak to the family after they finished addressing the group, but the scene grew tense as news photographers and a small crowd followed them. Though one family member walked down the street with the mayor and police superintendent, at least some in the family did not want to speak to Emanuel and Johnson.

Ja’Mal Green, a community activist and former mayoral candidate, shouted at Emanuel to get out of the neighborhood, calling his appearance a “photo-op” right before he leaves office.

The rally was originally scheduled for Monday evening, but it was postponed after a man was killed and another was wounded in a nearby shooting about an hour before the event was supposed to start.