As three men are killed and nine others wounded in Chicago within the past 24 hours, a former Chicago native is coming back to town next month to lead a gang summit that he hopes will bring about lasting peace to the city’s troubled communities.
Rev. Gregory Tatum, a California pastor who grew up in the 1960s in the infamous and now-demolished Cabrini-Green housing project, is holding his summit on the city’s Far South Side on Sept. 27th and 28th. Tatum has invited leaders Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton to join him at the summit, while Tio Hardiman, former director of CeaseFire Illinois, told the Chicago Sun-Times he would recruit hundreds of gang members to attend.
“Next year, we will go to Los Angeles, then Detroit,” Tatum said. “The whole goal this year is black on black crime in Chicago.”
The Sun-Times said Jackson and Sharpton have not responded to Tatum’s invite.
But Hardiman said, “You cannot reduce violence without bringing the killers to the table.”
In 2010, when Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis tried to follow the example of cities like Los Angeles, Cleveland, Minneapolis and Kansas City that had held successful summits that reduced gang violence, he was blasted by Chicago leaders.
In the midst of summit talk, Chicago police report that among the three men killed on Monday were two brothers, ages 35 and 38, who were found shot to death in a car on Chicago’s Far South Side early Tuesday. One was shot in the chin, the other in the face and chest in the front seats of a late model Dodge Charger at 3:40 am.
Both men were pronounced dead at the scene and their names have not yet been released.
“They have no gang affiliation that we know of, but we’re still trying to determine a motive at this point. It’s early in the investigation,” a police spokesman told the Sun-Times.
But a neighbor from across the street told the paper he feared there would be violent retaliation.
“From now on, we’d better be locked in our house,” said Rico Lee, 39. “It’s going to be war out here.”
Ironically, even as Chicago violence continues to consume the national news, the Chicago Police Department released July crime statistics in which it touted that murders are down 25 percent from last year, while shootings are down 23 percent for the first seven months of the year.
But there was a dispute about the number of homicides for the month. The CPD said it was 49, but news outlets including DNAinfo Chicago and the RedEye Chicago list the homicide total at 51 for the month of July.