May was a bloody month in Chicago — 66 dead and nearly 400 shot


The gray sedan was parked in the ambulance bay of the hospital, its doors open and bullet holes just above and below the driver’s side window.

Minutes earlier, 15-year-old Fabien Lavinder was in the car when someone stepped from an alley and shot him in the chest, police said.

The driver took the boy to the hospital, where he died shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday.


Fabien was the 66th and final homicide last month, the deadliest May in Chicago since 1995, when 75 homicides were recorded, according to police records.

He was among nearly 400 people shot last month.

The month’s toll was fueled by a Memorial Day weekend in which six people were killed and 63 wounded, and a Mother’s Day weekend when more than 50 people were shot, eight fatally. That brought the total number of people shot in Chicago so far this year to more than 1,500. At least 250 of them have died.

In 1995, there had been 320 homicides at this time, police data show.

Chicago police say the violence has been stoked by gang conflicts and a proliferation of guns, mixed with weak gun law enforcement.

The department has blamed most of the violence on a core group of about 1,400 people, whom they have used data analytics to pinpoint.

Police provided no motive for Fabien’s shooting. His family said it had no idea why anyone would shoot him and that it had seen enough of the street violence.

“It really does make me sick. I want to leave Chicago,’’ said Fabien’s mother, Ericka Wright, 45. “We are ready to go.”

The boy’s grandmother, Faye Lavinder, added, “I don’t know what this city has come to when you have 66 shootings in the weekend. Sixty-six people shot!”

She added, “We can fight disease and cure this and cure that…. Someone needs to cure the land ... the city.”

Fabien had been out with two friends Tuesday night and they were dropping off one of the friends when the shooting occurred in, the family said.

Fabien at first didn’t know he had been shot, his family said.

As he started bleeding, his friends drove him to the hospital, slapping his face and throwing water on him to keep him awake, the family said.

Wright said she was at home sleeping when one of Fabien’s eight siblings, a daughter, shook her awake.

“Mom, mom, Fabien got shot,” she told Wright.

Wright jumped into her car and raced to the hospital. “I was praying on the way there that it wasn’t that bad. I couldn’t say goodbye to my baby,” she said.

Police wrapped yellow crime tape around the car after Fabien was taken into the hospital. More than a dozen relatives and friends stood near the emergency entrance. They hugged and cried.

A man in a black T-shirt and jeans walked back and forth on the sidewalk across from the hospital. He held his head in his hands as he sobbed.

“We should have just stayed in the burbs, man,” he said to no one in particular.


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