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A teenage boy grieves next to a makeshift memorial at the site where Ashley Hardmon was shot and killed on July 4 in Chicago. At least nine people were murdered over the holiday weekend.
The onslaught of gun crime in Chicago has spurred members of Congress to convene a summit on urban violence and prompted a state lawmaker to demand the National Guard be called in to stop the “mayhem.”
Rep. Booby Rush speaks on Capitol Hill Thursday about the growing violence in Chicago, Illinois, which has reached staggering proportions so far in 2013.
“Every single day we wake up in the city of Chicago, some child, some young adult, some African-American male has been murdered,” state Rep. Monique Davis said Thursday. “This is not acceptable.
“I’m hearing from mothers that they are afraid to go outside,” she said. “Hospitals are overburdened with 70 gunshot wounds in one day. Ambulances are so busy people are driving victims in their own cars.”
Davis held a press conference this week to ask Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to call in National Guard “to protect our children so they can go to the park and swim and play and have a childhood.” She said the governor has not responded.
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Police investigate a crime scene where seven people were shot on July 6 in Chicago.
Meanwhile, Congressman Bobby Rush and two other Illinois Democrats announced plans Thursday for an “emergency” summit July 25 at Chicago State University.
The event will be national in scope, but Chicago was chosen because it is “the epicenter of gun violence in the nation,” said Rush’s spokeswoman, Debra Johnson.
Chicago ended last year as the city with the highest number of murders in the nation. Three weeks later, its reputation as a crime capital was cemented when Hadiya Pendleton, 15, was shot dead days after performing in Washington for President Obama’s inauguration festivities.
Police say anti-gang and crime-fighting strategies launched after Pendleton’s slaying are working. Official statistics show murders were down 28 percent, from 260 to 188, and shooting incidents fell 24 percent, from 1,117 to 849, in the first half of the year.
However, a bloody Independence Day weekend left at least nine people dead and dozens wounded – including two young boys shot in city parks – making many worry that progress is slowing midway through a long, hot summer.
“It’s mayhem,” said Davis. “And nobody seems able to stop it.”
In 2009, 14-year-old Ondelee Perteet was shot in the jaw at a birthday party. He was left paralyzed from the neck down. Ondelee and his mother talk about how she pushed him through his recovery, and how this "typical kid" from Chicago is beating the odds.