Chicago's Fourth of July rituals: fireworks, gun deaths

Mon Jul 6, 2015 5:00pm EDT
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By Fiona Ortiz

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Late in the evening on July 4 a haze of smoke from backyard fireworks hung over Chicago. Like kids all over the city, 7-year-old Amari Brown stood on the sidewalk enjoying the show -

until the staccato burst of explosives turned into gunfire.

Brown was hit when a man ran around the corner and shot at his group in an apparent gang-related attack. He was rushed to the hospital in his father's arms and died two hours later.

The boy was the youngest of 10 people killed and more than 50 injured in gun violence over the Independence Day weekend, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner and local media reports.

The long holiday weekend typically sees a dozen shooting deaths and this year the city beefed-up police patrols, especially in high-crime districts, with officers working 12-hour shifts.

Chicago, with 2.7 million people, is the most violent large city in the United States, with poverty, segregation, dozens of small street gangs, and a pervasive gun culture all contributing to the problem.

Brown was shot Saturday night in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on Chicago's West Side, on a street of brick houses where police have installed security cameras to try to discourage crime.

Police said the shots were meant for Amari's father, Antonio Brown, who they said is a ranking member of the Four Corner Hustlers gang, with dozens of arrests. He was free on bond on a weapons charge at the time of his son's death.   Continued...

Diamond Trusty cries in grief over the death of her cousin, 7-year-old Amari Brown in Chicago, Illinois, United States, July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young