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Mitchell: Caught-on-video shooting captures lost lives

The site of a shooting in Englewood, apparently captured by the victim's cellphone camera. | Andy Grimm / Sun-Times

We weep for the innocent young victims who have been killed by stray bullets.

We mourn the loss of lives cut short by criminals.

And we are righteously angry when unarmed black men are gunned down by trigger-happy police officers.

But what are we to make of the live-streaming of an attempted murder of a black man by another black man?

A brazen shooting Thursday in the 5500 block of South Hoyne, which left one man critically injured, was accidentally recorded on a cellphone.

We see the shooter. We hear the pop, pop, pop of at least 18 rounds. We listen to a man tell a wailing woman he would take the wounded man to a hospital.

You think to yourself: “This can’t be real.”

But the murder attempt is playing out before your eyes like some crime drama.


One minute, the shooting victim — a 30-year-old South Side man, according to the police — is talking smack. The next, an unidentified shooter is firing.

I was struck by the video’s background, all blue skies and fluffy, white clouds. A perfect Chicago spring day.

The video captures the suspect, his arms extended, repeatedly pulling the trigger.

Real gunfire is now a soundtrack.

And, just like that, we are taken hostage by this madness.

While the Chicago Police Department is desperately trying to stop the bloodshed that has made this one of the deadliest periods the city has experienced in two decades, the people with the power to put an end to this are treating gun violence like it’s entertainment.

Because the victim was still under sedation on Friday, the police had not been able to question him about the shooting, and no arrests had been made.

But on Thursday, someone posted the crime on Facebook as if it were just another episode of some reality TV series.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department discovered the video during a routine search of social media and was working to confirm its “authenticity.”

“After any shooting incident, we make a digital canvass for any clues,” Guglielmi said. “The victim is in critical condition in the hospital, and we have not been able to interview him.”

Law enforcement sources described the shooting victim as a “documented gang member.” In 2005, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison for second-degree murder. He was released from the Illinois Department of Corrections in 2009.

That means this gunshot victim served less than 50 percent of his sentence for a crime involving the loss of a life.

This video is a shocking example of how easily social media can be hijacked to escalate gang feuds and other beefs.

It also raises other red flags that should be of interest to community activists working to end the violence.

On the video, the victim bragged about a neighborhood store opening because he was on the street.

“I need somewhere to duck and hide for cover,” he said just before the bullets started flying and he was shot again and again.

If he pulls through, and I’m hopeful he does, it’s unlikely he’ll give the police any information about who shot him. And if he doesn’t, he’ll keep a target on his back.

That’s the real shame.

The victims of gun violence in Chicago and across the nation tend to be young, African-American and male. I believe in redemption, and 30 years old is too young to die.

If convicted, the shooter will likely face a long prison term, as he should. Still, it’s another black life wasted.

Rather than random violence, this “live” shooting is an example of the callous behavior that has turned too many young black men into the walking dead.

When the day of retribution comes, only their mothers will weep.