March 20, 2012 by staff
Chicago Shootings, Diana Aguilar was distraught with grief Monday as she sat in the purple-and-pink bedroom of her 6-year-old daughter, gripping photos of her “baby.”
Two days earlier, on a sunny afternoon more like a June day, Aliyah Shell was sitting between her mother’s legs on the family’s Little Village front porch as Aguilar untangled her hair. The family had a friend’s birthday party to attend.
Suddenly, shots rang out from a pickup truck. Aguilar said she knocked her 2-year-old daughter on her back and hugged Aliyah tightly. But Aliyah was shot several times and died that afternoon at a hospital.
“She didn’t deserve this,” the mother repeated over and over again Monday as she sat on her daughter’s bed, which was covered with bright balloons, stuffed animals and family photos. “They’re not people. They’re animals for doing this to my baby. A person with a heart would never do this, so they’re not people.”
Aliyah’s shooting was the most shocking of a particularly violent weekend in Chicago. According to ananlysis by the Tribune, 49 people were shot — 10 of them fatally — from late Friday afternoon through early Monday, mostly on the South and Southwest sides. Chicago police, excluding Monday morning from the calculation, said nine homicides took place over the weekend.
The deadly weekend continues a violent start to 2012. From Jan. 1 through Sunday, homicides soared 42 percent, to 94 from 66 a year earlier, according to a police spokeswoman. So far in 2012, nonfatal shootings rose to 408, up from 296 a year earlier, a 38 percent jump, she said. That continues a troubling trend that started in the last quarter of 2011. Police say gangs are to blame for much of the violence, including Aliyah’s killing.
At a news conference Monday afternoon, police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the violent weekend reinforces that Chicago ranks with Los Angeles as the worst in the country with gang woes. He defended the department’s anti-violence strategy but acknowledged that officers need to focus more on preventing retaliatory shootings.
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