Activists call for more resources, accountability from officials after 15 shot near Gresham funeral home: ‘This situation is systemic’

“We understand that in order for us to deal with the violence, we have to address all of the other inequities that face our community,” activist Natasha Dunn said during a news conference just steps from Tuesday’s shooting.

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Tanesha Peeples with Black Community Collaborative speaks about better ways the city could combat crime in South and West side neighborhoods Thursday in the Gresham neighborhood,

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Two days after 15 people were shot outside of a Gresham funeral home, activists on Thursday held a news conference just steps from the scene of the shootout to push for additional resources and call on elected officials to address the city’s surging gun violence.

Natasha Dunn, of the Black Community Collaborative, told reporters that her group seeks to “hold the system that we believe created this madness accountable.”

“We understand that in order for us to deal with the violence, we have to address all of the other inequities that face our community,” Dunn said, flanked by other members of the group at the corner of 79th and Carpenter streets. “What happened here two days ago was a tragedy that should not have occurred, and it’s something that happens perpetually in our community.”

On Tuesday evening, a stolen Chevrolet Malibu pulled up to Rhodes Funeral Services in the 1000 block of West 79th Street and people in the car started firing at a group on the sidewalk who were mourning the victim of another shooting victim, Chicago police said. When the victims returned fire, the Malibu crashed and the shooters inside took off on foot.

The mass shooting was likely fueled by an ongoing feud between two factions of the Gangers Disciples street gang, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Dunn called on a list of officials — including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and others — to work with community members to create a comprehensive response to the underlying conditions that drive gun violence.

“It is unacceptable that you close our schools,” she said. “It is unacceptable that you displace our residents at [the Chicago Housing Authority] and not work with them to make sure they have sound housing. What do you expect is going to happen when you do that to our community?”

Activist Brian Mullins later dismissed calls to cut the police budget to finance other city services and criticized the amount of funding organizations pushing that message are receiving.

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Brian Mullins with Black Community Collaborative speaks about ways the city could combat crime in the South and West side neighborhoods on Thursday in Gresham.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

“After 20 or 30 years of disinvestment in communities, we need some help here,” Mullins said. “But to talk about defunding the police and you live in these communities is ludicrous.

“So we ask people who don’t live in communities to stop it … Stop bringing your narrative to our community because we don’t feel like that.”

Mullins also said he welcomes the surge of federal agents President Donald Trump is sending to Chicago to combat the spike in shootings, though that position drew a mixed response from his allies at the news conference Thursday.

“They’re going to help them solve the murders that CPD can’t do. I welcome that wholeheartedly,” he said. “No, I don’t welcome them if they came through and arrested random black people and violated their civil rights.

“But we are in a critical place in the Black community. We need some assistance, and it doesn’t appear to be coming from anywhere else.”

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