Chicago (WGN) — Violence over the weekend resulted in Chicago's 400th homicide this year -- that's up 25 percent from the same time last year.
On Sunday, Jose Escobar, 25, was shot and killed after a fight near a fast food stand at 35th and Morgan in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood. His friend was left paralyzed. Escobar's family says he was a gang member, but was trying to change his life.
"In Chicago, the epidemic of violence is spreading all over the place," said Ceasefire Illinois director, Tio Hardiman.
Under a grant from the city, the group recently started working with police in two neighborhoods, North Lawndale and Woodlawn. Results remain to be seen. Hardiman says slowing the city's homicide rate will take changes in policing and community strategies. No one is off the hook, he says.
"This is giving us a black eye across the nation. We've reached the 400 homicide mark and we're on pace to hit 500 homicides for the first time in several years. The mayor can only do so much. Police can only do so much. We all have to play a role," said Hardiman.
On the Southside, members of Sweet Holy Spirit Church went on a prayer walk Sunday.
"Many are wearing red. It's symbolic of the bloodshed and the blood of Jesus that covers us all," said Bishop Larry Trotter. "We want to pray on every corner that crime will cease."
They were prompted by recent shootings, including the murder of Dejuan Jackson, 17, in the Oakwood neighborhood. A 14-year old boy is charged as an adult in that case.