Just as Chicago lawmakers were beginning to breathe a small sigh of relief at the city’s dwindling crime rate, a 14-year-old South Side girl was shot and killed by classmates in a rivalry over a boy.
Police arrested another 14-year-old girl and charged her with first-degree murder in the stunning execution-style shooting death of 14-year-old Endia Martin in the city’s Back of the Yards community. Endia was fatally shot in the back at about 4:30 p.m. Monday after returning home from Tilden Career Academy, police say.
The shooting, apparently sparked by a Facebook feud, proved embarrassing for the embattled city, which has been dubbed “Chiraq” because its murder rate at one time called to mind the death toll among U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy rushed to the podium to denounce, in front of cameras, the shooting, reiterate the falling crime rate, and announce a battle plan against surging violence during the warm months.
“The summer months is our busy season … and we have to ramp up our response to violence in the city,” McCarthy said in an interview Wednesday with the Associated Press. The effort, dubbed “Summer Surge,” is comparable to last year’s initiative at the same time, when the city paid $100 million in overtime to as many as 400 officers, who flooded the streets of high-crime neighborhoods. The effort garnered praise as homicides plummeted to 415 last year. The rate was still among the nation’s highest, although the city recorded 80 fewer homicides than in 2012, the AP says.
This summer McCarthy does not anticipate spending as much in overtime as last year, but the City Council has set aside about $70 million, he told the AP. He said that the mayor “has made it very clear if we need more overtime for more initiatives, he will find a way to fund it.”
Endia’s shooting follows three consecutive weekends during which at least 30 people were shot and at least 16 people were killed, the AP reports. And Monday’s killing followed the shooting of an anti-violence activist, who was slain in her West Pullman neighborhood on the city’s far South Side.
Leonore Draper, who had just attended a fundraiser for a group that teaches young people about violence, was caught in the crossfire between warring gang members, police say.
“This one happens to be a particular tragedy in that she was working to really stem the tide,” McCarthy said, according to CBS Chicago.
Indeed, activists, as Draper had been, have long realized that keeping young people engaged and occupied by meaningful academic and sports activities after school could help curtail the city’s gun-violence epidemic. These advocates have also argued the importance of teaching youth conflict-resolution skills to show them that violence and, ultimately, death are not the only way to settle disputes.