NORTH CENTER — In a strongly worded message to constituents, Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) provided new details in a shooting that sent a 17-year-old to the hospital, while calling on the city and state to begin addressing long-brewing issues that have led to an increase in violence across Chicago.
Pawar said the shooting, which took place shortly before midnight on Tuesday, involved two cars traveling southbound on Western Avenue, one chasing the other. The victim was a passenger, along with two men and a girl, in the auto being chased.
The cars turned onto Cullom Avenue and shots were fired from both vehicles. The victim and his fellow passengers abandoned their car in the 2200 block of West Cullom. The teen remains hospitalized and the three other passengers were arrested on the scene. All have known gang affiliations and the shooting stemmed from an ongoing conflict in Albany Park, Pawar said.
"I could chalk this latest incident up as random regarding the location it took place, or talk about it as an event solely impacting someone not living in the North Center neighborhood, or simply demand more officers as response," Pawar said.
"However, the increase in violence and shooting we are experiencing across Chicago is not solely attributable to police manpower," he continued.
Pawar pointed to poverty, income inequality, poorly funded and/or diminished social and mental health services, the lack of affordable housing, inequitable funding for public schools and the ease with which guns flow through the city as "systemic and institutional" issues that underlie the violence and need to be addressed.
"The building up of these issues over decades, and a lack of investment into struggling communities, leads us to where we are today. The amount of violence we see, hear and read about is heartbreaking," he said.
With the divide across the city "growing at a clip that is cause for alarm," Pawar said he would "push legislative efforts to ensure we have greater equity across the city, continue advocating for public education funding and fight for more police resources."
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