Home News Why is Chicago a murder capital? Clues from a bloody month

Why is Chicago a murder capital? Clues from a bloody month

September 30, 2016 at 11:40 am 20 News
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Chicago woman sits on curb as police investigate a crime.

CHICAGO (AP) — Fourteen-year-old Malik Causey loved the way gangs took what they wanted from people on the street, the way members fought for each other, the way they could turn drugs into cash and cash into $400 jeans.

His mother tried to stop him. She yanked him out of houses where he didn’t belong. She cooked up a story about Malik punching her so the police would lock him up to keep him safe for a while.

Then on Aug. 21, Monique Causey woke to discover that her son had sneaked out of the house. Before she could find him, someone ended his life with a bullet to the back of his head a few blocks away.

“I went to him and cried and told him he wouldn’t make it,” Causey said. “But this fighting, jumping on people … this is all fun for them. This is what they like to do, you know, so how can you stop them?”

Malik Causey was one of 91 homicide victims in Chicago in August, the deadliest month in the city in two decades and the latest milestone for a metropolis becoming known for its murder rate. Already, killings here have jumped 46 percent over the same period last year, climbing past the 500 mark — a total larger than Los Angeles and New York combined.

An analysis of the August toll shows more clearly than ever who’s dying in the Chicago slaughter and what’s behind it: surging violence in a handful of the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods, which are riven by loosely organized street gangs.

Young African American men are the chief victims. In a city that’s one-third black, the overwhelming majority of those murdered in August — 71 — were, like Malik, African American. Another 11 had Hispanic surnames. Almost half were in their teens or early 20s.

And more than 70 percent of those shot to death appeared on the Chicago police’s “Strategic Subject List,” which includes 1,400 people considered likely targets of violence based on gang involvement or criminal record.

To those outside Chicago, the rising murder toll might suggest a city wracked by widespread violence, but August portrays a much narrower picture of constant tit-for-tat attacks among gang members, with bystanders sometimes caught in the crossfire.

“People are arguing on Facebook over the color of some girl’s hair, real simple things … and they carry guns and when they finally catch each other, that’s how it be,” said Derrick House, 51, a former gang member and ex-convict who now works trying to prevent violence. “When they see the person they looking for, they don’t care who else is out there, old people and kids, they just start shooting.”

Ronnie Hutchen, 28, was one of the month’s first victims. An acknowledged member of the Traveling Vice Lords, he was a veteran of the gang scene in the Austin neighborhood on the city’s west fringe, which is dotted by boarded-up houses and of knots of men and teens standing around in the middle of the day. Most of those with jobs or options have fled.

Police don’t know why someone thrust a knife into Hutchen’s chest. But he had been in many scrapes with rival gangs, and had 56 arrests over the years, mostly in drug and weapons cases. Also, according to his court file, he’d told a judge that he’d worn a wire so federal agents could listen in on a cocaine buy.

The Englewood neighborhood on the south side was a particular hotspot for August murders. It’s one of the city’s poorest areas, with more than 40 percent of the residents living below the poverty level. This year, homicides there are up 171 percent over the same time last year.

Englewood is among four out of Chicago’s 22 police districts that accounted for about a third of August’s murders.

One Englewood victim was Denzell Mickiel, 24, who was shot in the face on Aug. 8 over what police suspect was a gang dispute. At the time he died, Mickiel was awaiting trial for allegedly firing shots at a group of people in 2014.

Tuesday, Aug. 23, provided a particular glimpse of how the city’s murder toll steadily grew.

On that day, Victor Mata, 22, a member of a faction of the Satan Disciples, was found dead in the front yard of a house. It was the fourth time he had been shot in recent years.

Christopher Hibbler, 42, who belonged to the Black P Stones, a leading black street gang, died when people in a car sprayed gunfire at the corner where he was standing.

Tykina Ali, 20, was shot when someone opened fire on her boyfriend’s car.

Johnell Johnson, a 37-year-old member of the Black Gangsters on the city’s West Side, was found dead in the street, shot in the face.

According to community activists, the eagerness to kill wasn’t as great years ago when these neighborhoods were dominated by larger, more organized gangs that concentrated on carving out and defending drug turf.

Now, “I don’t hear much about Gangster Disciples against the Vice Lords,” said Marshall Hatch, a minister in the East Garfield Park neighborhood where Causey lived. “I hear block against block.”

Abner Garcia was born into the gang-dominated Back of the Yards neighborhood and knew what could happen to him. He joined the Army after high school, then upon his discharge volunteered at a YMCA program to help young men steer clear of gangs.

On Aug. 13, he was driving down the street when someone inside a van flashed gang signs at him, according to police. Words were exchanged before someone in the van shot Garcia in the head.

In Chicago’s deadliest neighborhoods, a young man can be assumed to be in a rival gang just by being there.

Arshell Dennis III, 19, the son of a Chicago police officer, came home from college in New York to visit his family and was sitting on their porch when a man walked up and killed him with a bullet to the chest on Aug. 14.

“We think it was a case of mistaken identity and he was killed by someone who thought he was in a gang,” said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

Today, Monique Causey, who works for a company that makes pizzas, thinks her son might still be alive if only she’d been able to move him someplace safer.

After he died, she discovered, still in the package, a pair of $400 jeans in her son’s bedroom. She knows where the money came from — the same place that killed her son.

“The streets,” she said.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.

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20 Comments

  1. notw September 30, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Where are the protests and riots in their communities?

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  2. Jota_ September 30, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    “Why is Chicago a murder capital?”

    Democrats running things!

    Look at the vision of the future Hillary brought to Libya and Syria

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  3. EFG2 September 30, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    “This is what they like to do, you know, so how can you stop them?”

    Don’t worry, nobody from the Democrats will even try.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser September 30, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      They will try.. They will blame guns, republicans, christians and whites… and that’s it.

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  4. denn84 September 30, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Maybe Rahm can apply some balm and soothe the savage.

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  5. Ace Smith September 30, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    This all can’t be true right? Chicago has the most stringent gun laws in the country, so there is no way these people are shooting each other.

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  6. ARA53531 September 30, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    The Democrats know that young black men are not likely to vote so they don’t care if they slaughter each other. If the young blacks started voting in large numbers for the Republicans or the Libertarians, the Democrat party would start to pay attention to them. As it is, they are nothing to them and they mean nothing to the black activists, so you will never see a protest against black on black crime. There is no way to extort money out of the gangs involved in the killings, so the activists will never give them any attention. They know the Feds and liberal white Democrats will give them money and power, so that is where they have their focus. Jackson, Sharpton and Farakkhan don’t care about young black gangsta boyz.

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  7. hardheaded
    hardheaded September 30, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    The gun LAWs are only for people that obey the LAW, DA!!!
    besides, do you realy think they CARE about the LAWS/

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    • ltuser
      ltuser October 1, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      But.. but.. weez need to pass 100000s more gun laws.. Fink about the kiddywinks..

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  8. FrankC September 30, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    The culture and lifestyle they created is the root cause of all of the suffering and death. Until they rise up and replace that culture, their children will die by the hundreds every year. But don’t hold your breath, they will defend that culture to the death.

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    • minaka October 3, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Anyone who points out that the real problem lies with black culture gets called vile names – “racist” if he’s white, “Uncle Tom or Oreo” if he’s black, and those are just the publishable terms.

      Only blacks can break their downward spiral but they appear incapable of it – not enough who grasp the problem and the few who do can rouse no following. Blacks need to wrest themselves from the grip of their Democrat drug dealers and the dependency drug that’s slowly degrading and killing them. But like all addicts, they cling to their Dem pushers and demonize Republicans who encourage them to break the self-destructive Welfare and affirmative action habit.

      There’s no problem finding blacks to organize thousands of protestors that resemble MOBS to oppose police actions. But where are the thousands of supposedly “decent” blacks organizing to protest the ****** schools Dems and their crony teacher unions give black youth? Where is the demand for jobs and protests against illegal migrants who take those jobs? Crickets.

      Likely blacks are too far gone to save themselves from their Dem pushers of the Dependency drug. Apparently 24/7 leisure on Welfare is too dear to them to give up even if it kills them!

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    • ltuser
      ltuser October 3, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      I can’t remember who keeps posting it, but if whites became angels tomorrow, blacks would STILL be shooting one another en mass… ITS CAUSE its damn near inbred into their culture… AND that is something only THEY can break out of.

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  9. joefriday September 30, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” Revelation‬ ‭6:8‬ ‭KJV‬‬

    “Them over the fourth part of the earth” is Islam, which now has a population of…. You guessed it, 25% of the world population.

    “And with the beasts of the earth” The beasts are these black (predominantly Muslim supporting) people.

    See also Jude…

    “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities…

    But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” Jude‬ ‭1:8, 10‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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  10. mos18a September 30, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Cities like Chicago, Detroit and others are very dangerous to be in. But then they have been run by Democrats for decades and are model cities that Obama is proud of. That is why they do not protest the thousands of blacks murdered in each of those cities ever year. It is amazing to remember in my lifetime that Detroit was the wealthiest city in the world before the Liberal Democrats took control of it and regulated all business out of existence.

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  11. 2shinyshoes September 30, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Time to disburse these families in these “impoverished neighborhoods” and burn them down. Why are people living this way and raising children in these slums(?) because they are career welfare recipients. Their own government has made these policies that have been in place generation after generation. These policies don’t work, unless the communities are forced to work, and kids go to decent schools, this carnage will continue to increase.

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    • windywillows
      windywillows September 30, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      ‘Time to disburse these families in these “impoverished neighborhoods” and burn them down.’

      And where would you put these families? Into middle class neighborhoods? It’s being done in Milwaukee.
      They just bring their former life style with them. All the 4-8 family apartment buildings the city took over and moved them in, are now full of trash, booze bottles and needles and now we hear gun shots almost every night. Oh and lets not forget the middle of the night drag races down the streets. And NO the police won’t come because it’s not a life or death situation.
      Until they want to lift themselves up and act civilized, they can stay where they are! This may sound harsh, but it’s what we are living with!

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    • joefriday September 30, 2016 at 10:57 pm

      As a resident of Milwaukee for the past 10 years, I concur with windywillows.

      I talk to lifelong residents of the city and am shocked at what has happened to the city in the last 30 years. Neighborhoods that used to be clean and vibrant communities built by European settlers are now all black war zones with bars on every window. It’s as bad as anything you’d see in L.A.

      Blacks love to talk about how racist whites are, but a black person can walk down any street in the city in relative safety. Every white person I know is well aware that there are many places in Milwaukee where a white person is likely to be killed at any time of day by a black person just for being there.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser October 1, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      And pray tell, which community do you think would be welcoming for these families? EVERY TIME they have pushed them into other spots, those spots inevitably get trashed JUST LIKE The hoods they left.

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    • minaka October 3, 2016 at 11:58 am

      No. Blacks have to fix their own neighborhoods because when they’re relocated they don’t assimilate to the new neighborhood (i.e. start “acting white” or Asian LOL) but bring the same negative anti-school pro-gang culture with them. Disbursement just spreads the problem.

      Simultaneously, the Black Lies Movement is having some success in hampering police from policing blacks as strictly as is justified by their sky high crime rate. Police will be very reluctant to come to a white neighborhood to deal with the lone black family. (Though it would be fun to see ghetto blacks plopped into lib neighborhoods with Obama and Hillary signs on their lawns).

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  12. baitfish October 1, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Why is Chicago’s murder rate higher than New York and LA combined? Could it be that New York and LA don’t report all of their murders? The black culture can’t be that different in Chicago. The education system can’t be that much worse. The joblessness or numbers on welfare can’t be that much higher. So what is it about Chicago that makes their murder rate so much higher?

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