Faith Leaders Weigh Solutions to Gun Violence as Chicago Reels From Latest Teen Shooting Death

As Chicago police continue to investigate the murder of a teenage boy who was shot and killed while sitting on a North Side park bench, members of the city's faith community convened Saturday, calling for an end to gun violence and specifically crimes against children.

In the recent incident, a teenage boy identified as Lavel Window, 13, was found with a gunshot wound to the head at approximately 9:50 p.m. at Lerner Park in the 7500 block of North Sacramento Avenue, according to police.

Chicago police said a witness reported hearing one gunshot and saw people running away. Lavel was rushed to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston and later pronounced dead.

"They aren’t dying because of disease, or some or action, but they are dying because they are being shot and murdered," said Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church and founder of Project H.O.O.D., an organization focused on ending senseless violence, ending recidivism and building communities "one neighborhood at a time."

Gun violence against children was the topic of discussion at Saturday's Save the Children Conference inside Brooks' church in the city's Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood.

"I think we’ve heard it so much here in Chicago; people are becoming desensitized," he told NBC 5. "And it’s not until it happens to someone in your family or close to you that you feel the impact, but we shouldn’t have to wait for it to hit our families, but we should be just as concerned regardless to what neighborhood it is in."

Bishop E.W. Jackson, president of the STAND Foundation, has been tracking such crimes since 2020 and explained Chicago ranked at the top of the list, with 56 murdered children.

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