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Shootings across Chicago kill three kids; activists seek change

CHICAGO — Activists and local leaders called for more state and federal support Sunday as weekend shootings across Chicago left three children dead, including a 10-year-old who was struck by a stray bullet that came through an apartment window.

The Saturday night death was among at least 10 shooting fatalities since Friday evening, which follow a deadly Father’s Day weekend and fresh concerns about a violent summer ahead. A 1-year-old and 17-year-old were also killed.

“It’s out of control where even innocent children are losing their lives,” said neighborhood activist Raul Montes Jr., who planned a Sunday evening vigil on the city’s southwest side.

He called for federal intervention while a state legislator announced a new task force to addressing underlying issues.

“Violence is a result of poverty, and must be addressed with human services and support,” said state Rep. La Shawn Ford, a Chicago Democrat, in a statement. The group called on federal, state and city leaders for support.

A recent spate of shootings in Chicago and other cities have had authorities on edge. Experts say non-suicidal gun deaths are on track to top last year. The news comes as the American public is dealing with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic and economic fallout, more awareness of racial injustice and policing, and deeper political divisions in a presidential election year.

“The pain of losing a child never goes away,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Saturday on Twitter. “As a mother, I am tired of the funerals. I am tired of burying our children.”

Her office said Sunday that the multi-faceted approach to curbing violence in the coming months will include a $7.5 million street outreach program where police partner with organizations and an operations center launched last month. Staff from the park district, schools and a transit agency will work to “broaden the city’s footprint in places where shootings and homicides have recently occurred.”

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