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Garry McCarthy: Slaying of Anti-Violence Activist 'Particularly Tragic'

 Garry McCarthy (l.) spoke about Leonore Draper's death.
Garry McCarthy (l.) spoke about Leonore Draper's death.
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DNAinfo/Erica Demarest; Facebook

SOUTH DEERING — Leonore Draper, the West Pullman woman shot to death after attending an anti-violence fundraiser, was a victim of gang crossfire, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday.

"She was not targeted," McCarthy said. "It looks like she was caught in the crossfire, apparently between two rival gangs."

Draper, a 32-year-old CPS budget analyst, was shot about 10:35 p.m. Friday as she sat in a sedan near her home in the 11600 block of South Laflin Street. She died a few hours later in the hospital.

Earlier in the evening, Draper had helped organize a charity fundraiser for Project Orange Tree, a teen-run organization that seeks to educate young people about violence and its causes.

"Every [homicide in Chicago] is a tragedy," McCarthy said. "This one happens to be particularly tragic, in that she was working to really stem the tide."

The superintendent spoke Monday at the South Chicago police station, 2255 E. 103rd St., where he stressed the need for stricter gun control and longer prison sentences.

McCarthy expressed frustration that Chicago police officers have confiscated more than 1,800 guns this year, but illegal guns continue to "flood the streets."

The top cop said "straw purchases" — when someone buys a gun and gives it to someone else, such as a gang member who can't legally buy his own gun — continue to be a problem.

Illinois residents must report when their gun is lost or stolen, but not when they transfer it to someone else.

"If you transfer your vehicle, you have to report that. If you transfer your boat, you have to report that," McCarthy said. "There's no accountability for gun ownership, and that's why these guns are flooding the streets."

McCarthy stressed that each of the city's homicides has "a number of victims" — it's not just the person who got killed.

"Here, we've got a community activist who's doing the right thing and trying to prevent gun violence," McCarthy said, "and then we've got gangbangers who are hardened criminals who are also victims of gun violence. That gangbanger has a family."