Antwon Green, 15, was looking forward to seeing his friends as he started another year at Corliss High School on the Far South Side.
“He was excited about it,” his father Michael Jones said, struggling for words. “But I don’t know, he … I can’t talk about it.”
The night before classes were to begin, Antwon was standing in front of a West Side home in the 1500 block of South Drake Avenue in the Lawndale neighborhood when he began arguing with some men around 7:50 p.m. Monday, police said. One of them opened fire and Antwon was shot in the back.
The teen died about 30 minutes later at Stroger Hospital, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
“I think he was with people he thought were his friends,” his father said as he stood outside the hospital.
Antwon was among at least 45 people shot over the Labor Day weekend, from Friday afternoon until early Tuesday. Seven were killed. That’s down sharply from a year ago, when 63 people were shot, 13 fatally, according to data kept by the Tribune. On Saturday, the city went 11 hours without a shooting.
The weekend toll is closer to 2013 and 2014, according to Tribune data. In 2014, five people were killed and at least 37 others were wounded in Chicago over Labor Day. In 2013, eight were killed and 35 wounded.
The weekend was also the least violent of the summer’s long holidays. Over the Fourth of July weekend, more than 100 people were shot in Chicago, 15 fatally, during a violent six-day stretch. Over Memorial Day weekend, at least 53 people were shot, eight fatally, according to Tribune data.
Chicago Police Department said it deployed 1,300 extra officers to keep the peace this Labor Day weekend, many of them on the South and West sides where most of the shootings occurred. The department credited the “very visible police presence” and “real time” data collection with keeping violence in check.
“This includes increasing our visibility efforts to stop violent incidents before they occur, and gang enforcement missions that helped us to take criminals off the street before they could potentially pull the trigger,” First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro said Tuesday.
In Lawndale on Monday night, so many officers responded to a shooting that a large white passenger van was used to take them away.
Navarro also singled out “strategic decision support centers” operating in a handful of patrol districts on the South and West Sides. The centers allow officers to use gunshot detection technology known as “ShotSpotter” to respond to shootings more quickly.
Several rifles were seized on the South and West Sides, including AK-47s, AR-15s and an Uzi-style machine gun, Navarro said.
Six military-style weapons, a shotgun and a semi-automatic handgun were also confiscated during a joint operation between the Chicago Police Department and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Antwon was the youngest person to be killed over the weekend. He was one of eight children who live in the Far South Side’s Pullman neighborhood. The family has relatives on the West Side, but Antwon’s father didn’t think his son was with them when the shooting took place.
The family gathered at the hospital after hearing about the shooting. Antwon’s 9-year-old sister stood with Jones and hid her arms in her shirt. A tear rolled down her face as her father spoke about her brother.
Jones said he fought to keep his son out of the streets, especially at night. He tried to keep him occupied with things to do around their home. The teen had spent the summer selling candy as he slowly gained independence.
“He wasn’t no troublemaker or nothing like that,” Jones said. “Every kid acts up behind his parents’ back so I know he wasn’t no saint or no angel. But overall, he was a good kid.”
‘We’re numb to it’
In the Gresham neighborhood on the South Side, a 3-year-old boy was sleeping inside a parked car early Saturday when someone opened fire on a group of people in front of a home, police said. The boy’s mother was one of four people who were wounded.
The mother, shot in the thigh, grabbed the boy and was holding him by the time police arrived. Two officers drove the boy about five miles south to his grandmother’s home.
James McChristian, 26, who lived on the block where the shooting took place, was struck in the chest and abdomen. He was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
Late Sunday, Felipe Bautista, 26, was fatally shot and a 29-year-old man was critically wounded in the 5900 block of West Belden Avenue in the Northwest Side’s Belmont Central neighborhood. As Bautista’s family gathered at the edge of the crime scene, another family partied just west of where police were working.
Music blared from the backyard of a home as people played beer pong. Juan Morales and Robert Vega were among those at the party who heard the shooting. They cautioned each other to be careful but the party continued.
“We’re numb to it,” Morales said.
Tribune reporter Jeremy Gorner contributed