CHICAGO (CBS) — A day after 7-year-old Jaslyn Adams was shot and killed while sitting in a car with her father at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Homan Square, Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson said she feels “like a broken record” mourning another student who lost their life to gun violence.
Jackson said it was particularly heartbreaking to learn that Jaslyn had been killed while going to McDonald’s with her father.
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“I just thought about what that felt like to me, as a kid. That was like always a big deal. You get to go to McDonald’s, and I get to go with my dad. So I can only imagine the heartbreak. I’m sick of our kids not feeling safe in our city, even doing something as normal; just normal and regular,” she said while visiting Whitney Young High School on the first day back in classrooms in 13 months for CPS high school students.
Jaslyn was a 1st grader at Cameron Elementary School in Humboldt Park, and Jackson said she has spoken to the principal to make sure the school is providing support to students and staff.
“I think this is heartbreaking for a lot of people, so we’re going to continue to support them, but we’ve got to continue to do more to make our kids feel safe, and give them opportunities, and give them something to do, so that they are in school and that they are in a safe place the majority of the time,” she said.
Jaslyn is at least the third CPS student shot and killed in Chicago this year.
Adam Toledo, 13, was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer last month during a foot chase in Little Village. Video footage released last week showed, while Adam appeared to have a gun in his right hand behind his back just a moment before an officer shot him, the boy was raising his arms and his hands were empty when the officer opened fire. Adam was a student at Gary Elementary School in Little Village.
In February, 15-year-old Damia Smith, a student at Morgan Park High School, died nearly a month after she was shot during a shooting spree that spanned the city and north suburban Evanston. Police said Jason Nightengale shot Damia Smith while she was in the back seat of a car while her mother drove in the 10300 block of South Halsted Street on Jan. 9. Damia was the sixth person Nightengale shot that day of a total of seven, police said. Five of the victims, including Damia, were killed.
While visiting Whitney Young High School with Jackson on Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot was asked if she’s satisfied with the job Chicago Police Supt. David Brown has done responding to violent crime and gangs in Chicago.
“The short version is, yes, I am. But ask me if I’m satisfied with the job that everyone who has a responsibility for guns flowing into our city … and the answer is no,” Lightfoot said.
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As she has many times before, Lightfoot said Congress needs to pass stricter gun control laws; specifically requiring universal background checks on gun purchases, banning assault weapons, and banning gun sales to anyone listed on the federal government’s “no-fly list.”
“Tell me why you need an assault weapon as a civilian. It has nothing to do with hunting. It has nothing to do with Second Amendment rights. I mean, it is insane,” she said.
The mayor said, without better gun control laws at the federal level, it’s too easy for someone to circumvent Chicago’s gun laws by simply going to the suburbs or Indiana to take advantage of more lenient gun regulations.
“We are living in madness if we don’t step up and deal with this problem,” she said. “So yes, I’m very satisfied with what our police superintendent and the Police Department are doing in an impossible environment where we’ve got to have help.”
Lightfoot also said it’s time for the Cook County court system to resume criminal trials on a more consistent basis. Cook County held its first criminal trial in more than a year last month, after courtrooms sat largely empty for more than a year due to the pandemic.
“This isn’t working. We need to have trials, and we need to put dangerous people behind bars so that the community is actually safe,” she said.
The mayor also criticized the court system for allowing too many defendants charged with violent crimes to go free on electronic monitoring while they await trial.
“This is madness that we are allowing really violent people back on the streets with ankle bracelets or some other from of pre-trial release, and they’re terrorizing our communities over and over again,” she said.
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Asked what she is prepared to do about the problem, Lightfoot said, “I don’t’ control electronic monitoring; because I tell you, if I did, that problem would be solved.”