Vi­o­lence-preven­tion ac­tivists say they warned CPD be­fore at­tack that wounded 15

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Re­porters BY FRANK MAIN AND SAM CHARLES

The mass shoot­ing that wounded 15 peo­ple out­side a South Side funeral home Tues­day night was most likely fu­eled by a long­stand­ing war be­tween two ob­scure gang fac­tions, of­fi­cials said.

At 6:30 p.m. Tues­day, a Chevy Mal­ibu pulled up to Rhodes Funeral Ser­vices in the 1000 block of West 79th Street and peo­ple in the car fired at fu­ner­al­go­ers on the side­walk. The vic­tims were also car­ry­ing guns and shot back, police said. The stolen Mal­ibu crashed and the shoot­ers ran away.

Vi­o­lence-preven­tion ac­tivists said they warned the police about the po­ten­tial for vi­o­lence at the funeral. At a press con­fer­ence Tues­day night, CPD First Deputy Supt. Eric Carter said the Gre­sham Dis­trict Com­man­der as­signed a squad car to sit out­side the funeral. How­ever on Wed­nes­day, Supt. David Brown said there were at least three police ve­hi­cles nearby. Two squad cars and a tac­ti­cal team were as­signed be­cause the funeral in­volved a vic­tim of a sus­pected gang killing.

But those of­fi­cers were pow­er­less to stop the drive-by shoot­ing, said Brendan Deeni­han, chief of de­tec­tives.

Not ran­dom

Sur­veil­lance video is “not graphic enough to give us per­sonal iden­ti­fiers” of the three peo­ple in the Mal­ibu, two of whom were shoot­ers, Deeni­han said.

“Peo­ple know they were go­ing to do this. It wasn’t just ran­dom . ... We be­lieve that there’s in­di­vid­u­als out in the com­mu­nity and out in the crowd who know the shoot­ers,” he said, echo­ing the mayor and police su­per­in­ten­dent in ask­ing for help from the pub­lic.

Late Tues­day, sur­veil­lance footage of the shoot­ing was taken from a nearby laun­dro­mat and posted on the so­cial me­dia site Red­dit. The footage doesn’t show the shoot­ers, but boom­ing gun­fire is heard for sev­eral sec­onds as ter­ri­fied peo­ple sprint east on 79th Street to get to safety.

Rev. Michael Pfleger, whose St. Sabina Church is blocks away from Tues­day’s mass shoot­ing, said he was told the vi­o­lence was the re­sult of a con­flict be­tween ri­val Gang­ster Dis­ci­ples fac­tions.

The funeral was for Don­nie Weathersby, 31, who died in a July 14 drive-by shoot­ing in the 7400 block of South Ste­wart in En­gle­wood, about a mile and a half north­east of the funeral home in Gre­sham.

One the­ory is that Weathersby’s killing was re­tal­i­a­tion for the fa­tal shoot­ing one day ear­lier of 21-year-old Tre­moni Pace in the 8000 block of South Ste­wart in Gre­sham, law en­force­ment sources said.

Weathersby was be­lieved to be a part of the Wuga World fac­tion and Pace, part of the Face World fac­tion, nei­ther of which are well-known — even to some Chicago police of­fi­cers. The gang fac­tions have been feud­ing for a long time, sources said.

Weathersby had served prison time for a gun-pos­ses­sion con­vic­tion and police records iden­tify him as hav­ing ties to the Gang­ster Dis­ci­ples, but Pace doesn’t ap­pear to have a crim­i­nal record.

Top cop: End cy­cle of vi­o­lence

At a news con­fer­ence with the mayor Wed­nes­day, Brown said Chicago has 117,000 gang mem­bers di­vided into 55 major gangs and 747 fac­tions with 2,500 “sub­sets of those fac­tions.”

Any day of the week, any hour of the day, Chicago has “sev­eral hun­dred gang con­flicts,” he said, and the cy­cle re­peats: Some­one is shot and some­one else “picks up a gun and re­tal­i­ates.”

He said that cy­cle of vi­o­lence ends when peo­ple reach for a phone to call de­tec­tives with in­for­ma­tion about crimes like Tues­day’s mass shoot­ing.

“It ends when some­one does not reach for a gun,” Brown said. “That’s real jus­tice — not re­venge.”


Chicago police in­ves­ti­gate after a mass shoot­ing Tues­day in the 7900 block of South Car­pen­ter, in the Gre­sham neigh­bor­hood.

Don­nie Weathersby

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