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Friday, June 08, 2007
30th school-age kid murdered in Chicago
Chicago resident Soccoro Toscano has given birth to five children. Tonight, "her baby" of the five will be laid to rest.

Fourteen-year-old Enrique Chavez was her youngest child, and also perhaps the most complicated. He didn't much like 8th grade, and often did not go to school. His family says when he was in school he was often rebellious. But Soccoro says her son was good and respectful to her and her family.

On Monday, Enrique was viciously killed, adding to an unfathomably tragic string of murders in this city. The overall murder rate in Chicago has gone down over the years, but this academic year, 30 school-age youngsters have been killed. Police keep records by calendar years, not by school years, but regardless, this spree in this 2006-2007 school year has been horrifying. Anderson hosted a live program in Chicago last week to bring national attention to this sad story; since we did the program, two more kids, including Enrique, have died. (Read Anderson Cooper's take on Chicago's deadly school year)

The murder of Enrique is hard to believe even by these sorry standards. His family says he did not go to school this past Monday, instead taking his uncle's van and two friends out for a joyride. As the 14-year-old was driving, somebody started shooting at the van. The vehicle overturned; Enrique and his friends jumped out and ran. His friends got away, but Enrique was shot in the head and then viciously beaten. He died in a hospital the next day. Police believe the killing was gang related; and that nine or ten males were involved. Nobody has been arrested.

Enrique's mother told me in Spanish her son wasn't in a gang. There's no way for us, or police for that matter, to know for sure. But it doesn't change this terribly sad outcome for a boy who had his whole life in front of him, and a family that still can't believe this happened.

-- By Gary Tuchman, CNN Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 2:22 PM ET
  19 Comments
Gary,
It is hard to believe that another young person has lost their life in such a senseless manner!

I am just wondering, and maybe you could tell us, what is the police actually doing in this area to crack down on this problem? I mean they say they are working on it yet kids continue to die at an alarming rate. It seems to me what ever they are doing isn't working and maybe they need another plan.

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 3:06 PM ET
Hi Gary,
It is infuriating that something like this is going on in this great country of ours right under our noses!
I have to agree that if this were upper middle class white kids we would have heard about it much, much sooner.
We can always count on 360 to take on the important and sensitive issues that really matter. This is extremely more important than an heiress' bad habits going in and out of jail.
Kids should be learning and enjoying life with their friends, not killing each other. The violence must stop.
Thanks Gary.

"I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends."
Abraham Lincoln~
Posted By Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX : 3:53 PM ET
This is so ridiculous! How many children have to die before we realize that we have to do something about gangs in this country? The Presidential Debates took place this past week; the candidates spoke out about the War in Iraq, terrorism, health care, etc. but never once mentioned the problem of juvenile crime rising in this country. The issue of young, innocent children dying is just as important to me, as an American citizen, as providing health care to all and reducing the number of abortions in the U.S. Reducing the number of abortions in this country is an issue about the sanctity of life, but so is reducing the amount of juvenile crime and deaths among the youth. Obama, the Senator from Illinois, the state where these 30 children have been killed, has not said a word about this issue, or what he, if elected President would do to prevent more deaths. That is a question I would love to ask Obama and the other Presidential candidates, because we need juvenile crime to stop in order to protect the future leaders of our country.
Posted By Jessica, Bourbonnais Illinois : 4:05 PM ET
This is just tragic. I live in one of the suburbs that Mr. Duncan mentioned on Anderson's show and he is right. Our community would be up in arms. These parents are trying to do everything they can, to make a better life for their children. Their children are being gunned down for no reason. First, the police really need to beef up security. I can't believe that they don't know most of the gangs and their members. Second, we really need to educate these children, encourage them to stay in school and try to offer after school activities to keep them off the street. We need to keep these kids from joining gangs in the first place. Thanks for staying with this story. I hope you all have a great, "Paris free" week-end!
Posted By Kathy Chicago,Il : 4:38 PM ET
Why should it take the federal government to stop this? why can't parents actually raise their children, and stop relying on the government to make the rules, and tell them how to do it. It obviously is not working. I find it hard to believe that a child is considered good and respectful for skipping school, taking a vehicle and joyriding around unlicensed. Yes it is tragic and unneccessary that this child died, but it could have been avoided if the child was in school instead of joyriding. We, as a society, need to actually hold children accountable and show them that whatever decisions they make will have consequences, instead of making excuses like, "he just dosen't like school", or shifting blame to others. Parents should become an active part of the childrens lives, it's the only way to know what is actually going on in your childs life.
Posted By Ted, Jacksonville, FL : 4:47 PM ET
While I can sympathize that another child has died needlessly, why are every one of the comments made so far blaming the police and the politicians? Why has no one questioned why the parent (or parents) didn't make sure this kid was in school? Why has no one questioned a 14 y/o driving a "taken" van? The problems this child faced were a lack of parental supervision and personal responsibility. I was born in Chicago. It is hard, and tough, but my parents also kept my butt on the straight and narrow. I had to answer to them if I didn't keep my nose clean (and I didn't occassionally). Trust me, as a teenager, I would much rather have had a parent who blamed everyone else but me for my doing wrong. As an adult, with my own teenagers, I thank God for the parents I had. Parents, who cared about me enough to draw the line between right and wrong, and made me responsible for my own actions.
Posted By EC, Cincinnati, OH : 4:54 PM ET
Geez...what ever happened to fist fights?

Seriously, what do you think politicians are going to do? The problem is deep within the fabric of modern American society. We worship guns and violence, and the pop culture of rap, movies, and video games (for the most part) glorifies it.

What's to be done? Ban music? TV? How about guns (that would be nice)?

How about a society that teaches responsibility and morals? And NO, we don't need religion to teach morals. I think a little more time with family and community and a little less time worshipping the almighty dollar (the true American religion) would be a good start.
Posted By Bob, San Francisco, CA : 4:54 PM ET
the cycle of porverty and violence is hard to break. the only way to eliminate it is to eliminate the population of poverty--no more ghetto babies. sheesh! what is the woman thinking/doing?! "Chicago resident Soccoro Toscano has given birth to five children." Enough said right there--5 babies is WAY TOO MANY for someone who lives in poverty--shame on her for giving birth to so many children into a world/life of poverty...
Posted By Stan, Lubbock, TX : 5:01 PM ET
No more ghetto babies!! Mandatory birth control!! You get your histerectomy/vasectomy when you get your food stamps! No more bourbon babies! Taxpayers pay for the ghetto to be continued endlessly.
Posted By Lisa, Los Angeles, CA : 5:02 PM ET
I have one more comment Gary~
With everyone shouting birth control I must wholeheartedly agree!
As a practicing Catholic (we all know their stance on birth control) I believe that humans have been overly fruitful and OVER multiplied! Too many people are forced into poverty with no future, too damn much violence, too many starving and dieing around the world!
We must stop the sinful breeding of unwanted humans! Now THAT is a tragic waste of life!
Posted By Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX : 5:37 PM ET
Thank you, Betty Ann in Nacogdoches, TX!! I was raised Catholic myself, but just can't stand seeing these families in poverty with no resources pumping out babies like crazy, with no means to provide them with the best life they possibly can. These are not children born out of love. You are right--we have over-multiplied! I hope to stop by for some lunch some time if I ever get down to your neck of the woods, Betty Ann!! Glad to see you're doing ok, and have a great weekend! TGIF!! :-) Your friend Mark in Sacramento, CA. The weather here is *GREAT*!!
Posted By Mark, Sacramento, CA : 6:21 PM ET
All involved in this incident were all probably ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, so who cares?? Thank you for the "barrios" (ghettos in Spanish), neighbors!
Posted By Cindy, Cincinnatti, OH : 6:25 PM ET
The police are not the reason that Enrique was killed. The police are not the reason there exists gang violence. They do what they can, which is their very best.
Posted By xtina - chicago IL : 8:39 PM ET
I can understand the calls for the government to help; the neighborhood to help; and the parents to have stricter discipline, but bashing the mother for "having too many babies" IMHO is cruel.

Regardless of how many children she had, one of her babies now lies senselessly dead. Whether she had too many or not is not the point - the child is dead with no reason. The mother will grieve for this child the rest of her life whether she had 1 child or 20.

A solution needs to be found to stop these killings and the blame game doesn't help with this. 30 children this year is 30 too many. Each individual life is important - preserving these lives needs to be the priority and I hope a solution can be found quickly. We have the same problem here in Birmingham Alabama - senseless drive by killings, children dying, etc. No matter where it happens, who it happens to, rich or poor, there are people left behind to grieve and possible promising potential taken from the world.

Ask not for whom the bell toils - the bell toils for thee.
Posted By Annie Kate, Birmingham AL : 10:24 PM ET
When are the police going to crack down? When are the politicians going to do something about this? Those comments are more ridiculous than the senseless killing of 30 kids. Parents need to step up and teach their kids. The one parent said her kid was not in a gang, yet he is out joy-riding and not going to school? The one thing I do know about gangs is they do not randomly go & shoot people. They do tend to shoot other gang members. That parent is in denial and that is what is wrong about a lot of parents today. They are not taking responsibility for their kids. Juvenile crime will decrease once parents start parenting, and that will start when the kids are babies. Once they reach the age of 5 - 7 and the kids have not been taught manners, respect, and caring for other people it will be very difficult for them to learn if the parent begins to try to teach them those skills. Policticians need to do something? Police need to do something? It is only in the movies that police actually stop crimes. In real life, the police are the clean-up crew. Politicians & police need to do something? Ridiculous. Parents need to parent from an early age.
Posted By Randy, NM : 11:43 PM ET
I disagree w/ Betty and Sacramento Mark that people who have 'too many babies' don't have them out of love. That's "too much love" if you ask me! But seriously, I think it's a cultural thing that some families don't believe in birth control. The issue here is do we enforce the existing laws? Do we intervene with their ability to have ten babies? Do we let people come here illegally and entitle them to free health care, welfare payments, food stamps (and exempt them from income tax) ??
Posted By xtina - chicago IL : 1:00 PM ET
I'm really curious why Anderson Cooper 360 did not do a true "360" report on the problem of murdered youth in Chicago. As a recent grad of one of Chicago's best public magnet HS's, the entire class of 2007 has big plans for the Fall. My classmates will be attending the finest LAC's and universities in the USA and Canada. The area Anderson reported on consists of a tiny pocket on the South Side of the City. Most Chicagoan's are well aware of this area and are not proud of the tragedies. But to be fair; NYC, LA, Detroit, Miami, St. Louis, Houston, Dallas, etc., have very similar neighborhoods with varying degrees of issues. As you claim to report on both sides as you keep 'em honest, why not ask Chicago's leaders to show you our successes and strengths, too. By lightly reporting on positive measures people are taking to end the violence, your report of one neighborhood painted Chicago as an unsafe city, which is unfair and untrue. There's so much more here to love than the Gold Coast, the Loop and Michigan Avenue.
Posted By Rebecca, Chicago, IL : 2:20 PM ET
I live in one of the largest immigrant communities in the city, and it is adjacent to a very large public housing development. (I am not a yuppie transplant, my family has lived here for years.) The majority of people here, including those in the housing development, rely strongly on the role of the family. I see fathers playing with their kids, moms taking their kids to the grocery store, grandparents, other family members, or even neighboors stepping in where needed. Everyone is friendly and crime is fairly low here. (the police give out more parking tickets than busting people.)Every area is different, but I think if people were to give a crap about their children and the people in their communities, we wouldn't have so many of these problems.
Posted By Kristin, Chicago IL : 11:59 PM ET
I second the comments of Rebecca, Chicago. Anderson went to a point in the city with higher than avg. crime, which all large metro cities have. Some viewers not familiar with Chicago might think that's the city as a whole. Those who have not traveled to Chicago might have a less than positive impression. But Chicago is in the top five of millionaires living in the U.S., and has many lovely attributes.

I understand that the angle of the story was violent crime against teens. And I understand that ac360 is not responsible for what viewers will think after seeing a segment of the show. So, I think that what irked residents of Chicago was knowing that people not familiar with Chicago could possibly form an opinion of our city based on this one segment of news.
Posted By xtina - chicago IL : 10:34 AM ET
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