Mitchell: There should be no place for shooters to hide
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Henderson Principal Marvis Bonita Jackson-Ivy really got to the crux of what needs to happen in the wake of 12-year-old Kanari Gentry-Bower’s senseless death from gun violence.
There should be no place in this city for her killer to hide.
Jackson-Ivy told the Chicago Sun-Times she would “like to see residents go door to door to beg neighbors to come forward,” and to “ask at every house if there are guns inside, and young men or women likely to use them,” she said.
That’s where the rubber meets the road.
The people who live in communities plagued by gun violence know what is going on.
They are the ones who must decide what kind of neighborhood they want to live in — one where children can play safely outdoors — or one where innocent children are unwitting targets for gun-toting hell-raisers.
It has been more than a week since a stray bullet killed Kanari, a sixth-grader who was playing in her school’s playground, and no arrest has been made.
After witnesses came forward, police arrested Devon Swan, 26, for the brazen midday shooting in North Lawndale last week that killed 2-year-old Lavontay White and Lazarec Collins, the boy’s uncle, and wounded a 20-year-old pregnant woman.
A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said police have “promising leads” in Kanari’s case, and they credit “community cooperation” with helping to solve Lavontay’s murder and that of 11-year-old Takiya Holmes.
Lt. Michael Flynn retired from the Chicago Police Department 9 1/2 years ago after serving 35 years on the force. The former watch commander thinks he has found a way to force witnesses to give up information.
“All the information I have learned since my first day in college through my whole police career all came together in the middle of the night,” Flynn told me.
“I woke up [with] the basics of putting the grand jury together with family love and interpersonal relationships and how to use this to defeat ‘no snitch’ and get the information to bring these cases to court,” he said.
Under Flynn’s “Safer Streets System,” uncooperative shooting victims, as well as selected family members and friends, would be subpoenaed to appear at the grand jury at the same time to testify.
They would be granted limited immunity. If they still refused to testify, they would be held in contempt and incarcerated.
“This is only going to have to be done one or two or three times until gang members see that it can be done and will be done,” he said.
“Those [victims] aren’t going to want their families brought into this. They are going to come in very reluctantly and tell the state’s attorney what happened and who shot him,” he added.
Despite his long tenure with the Chicago Police Department, Flynn’s idea hasn’t gotten any traction with former colleagues.
Flynn said he gave his “Safer Streets System,” to former Chicago Police Superintendents Garry McCarthy and John Escalante, and to Supt. Eddie Johnson, but he never heard back from any of them.
I was unable to reach Johnson on Monday.
But Flynn isn’t giving up.
“I think they take a superficial look and think I am going to get people killed. But the opposite is true. The bottom line is I don’t like anybody getting killed — the innocent, gangbangers and poor kids that are getting caught in crossfire,” he said.
“You are talking about a whole generation of kids that are going to have post-traumatic stress disorder. That is not acceptable,” he said.
I’m not an expert on grand juries, and I don’t know whether Flynn’s idea is genius or junk.
But spring is around the corner.
At this point, every serious idea on how to stop the shootings at least deserves a look-see.
Really, what do we have to lose?Tweets by @MaryMitchellCST