CHICAGO—Eric Crawford, a 13-year-old boy shot in the head and neck near his home, died Tuesday within hours of being pulled off life support at a Chicago hospital. He is one of six children shot during Chicago’s most violent weekend in 2021, according to the Chicago Police Department.
Crawford was riding a bike in the McKinley Park neighborhood when someone from an unknown vehicle fired at him early Sunday morning, according to the Chicago Police Department. In total, 8 people were killed and 44 injured over the weekend, largely due to gunshots.
“Eric was a bright, loving, wonderful kid,” Crawford’s mother Patricia Deates told WGN, “He was about to go into the 8th grade, so for these scumbags to do this to him … I want justice for my son.” Crawford has two siblings.
Deates visited her son at the hospital hours before he was taken off life support, according to Chicago SunTimes. After he died, she wrote on her Facebook page, “Fly high, my angel. This is not goodbye, this is see you later.”
On the GoFundMe page that Deates set up for her son, a donor named Courtney Burns said she worked at Crawford’s school and fondly remembered him, “Eric was a wonderful student to have in our school. He was cheerful and funny. All the students loved having him in class. His presence will be so unbelievably missed around the building.”
No suspect has been identified for the murder of Crawford. Chicago Police Department Area One detectives are investigating.
Two Chicago police officers were also shot over the weekend when responding to shots fired in the South Lawndale neighborhood. One officer was shot in the hand, the other in the shoulder and leg; both are recovering and in good condition, according to the Chicago Police Department.
On Monday, both Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Superintendent David Brown addressed the violent weekend in separate press conferences. Brown said that as pandemic lockdown measures ease up, more people come out onto the street to let go of the pent-up energy, and as a result, violent crimes go up.
Brown also warned about a looming violence spike as summer approaches. He highlighted a city-administered job program “One Summer Chicago” as one of the tools to deter violence. The program offers jobs and internships to young people between 14 and 24 in hope of luring them away from life on the streets.