CHICAGO — While police say a gang member is to blame for the shooting of another child in Woodlawn Tuesday, a South Side pastor who organized a gang "truce" in the area said some gang members are helping police find the gunman.
Trying to slow a surge in violence in his neighborhood, Corey Brooks, the "Rooftop Pastor" from New Beginnings Church of Chicago, gathered about 100 rival gang members together to discuss the out of control violence last Tuesday. The meetup came after 3-year-old Devon Quinn was shot on Father's Day in the area, leaving him paralyzed for life.
"We had everyone sit across from one another and tried to work everything out," Brooks said last week of the meeting. "We mentioned a lot of shootings. We tried not to pinpoint people. We talked about all of the shootings."
Though the area did not see any shootings for nine days following the tragic shooting of Devon, that streak was shattered Tuesday when 4-year-old Kavan Collins was shot. In the same incident, a bullet tore through a 28-year-old woman's window, striking her in the head while she was in bed.
The shooter from Tuesday night was not affiliated with any of the gangs involved in the truce, Brooks said. In fact, he added, the gang members had collaborated to offer up the name of a suspect, who police are now pursuing. Police said the man is a documented gang member.
"I'm proud of them, and I'm encouraged that they've been talking and communicating," Brooks said. "The very fact that you have guys in gangs now coming together and trying to help is a good thing."
James Williams, who lives in Parkway Gardens, said he was walking away from the complex Tuesday night when he heard shots ring out.
The area had mostly been quiet, he said, since 15-year-old DeKayla Dansberry was stabbed to death there on May 14.
"And now we got this peace treaty, but it's scary to think it could all start back up again," Williams said.
Williams considered it "possible" that the truce could hold up, but said it would "be hard, and it's gonna take a long time."
"A lot of stuff has been accumulating for a while, a lot of back-and-forth," he said. "So it's like you can only do so much...but people are gonna be the same way."
Brooks, though, said he was "very confident" that the neighborhood has reached a turning point.
"This community is frustrated and tired, and we're starting to come together and do something about it," he said.
Brooks, who gained national fame when he spent three cold months atop an old motel in 2013 to raise money to buy it, told DNAinfo that he plans to monitor the truce in order for the people who agreed to it to be held accountable.
"We want people to try to trust the process. If we have peace throughout the summer, than it can be something that is ongoing," Brooks said. "We taking it one day at a time. Even if something does happen, were going make sure it doesn't escalate."
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