After 3-year-old killed, activists address growing risk of guns and road rage: ‘This is totally unacceptable’

Napoleon English and Tio Hardiman stand at the site where a 3-year-old child was shot during a road rage incident on the corner of West Marquette Road and Kenneth Avenue in West Lawn, Sunday, October 2, 2022.

Napoleon English and Tio Hardiman stand on the web site the place a 3-year-old infant was shot and killed Friday. “We’re supposed to protect kids,” says Hardiman, who heads Violence Interrupters.

Anthony Vazquez/Photo voltaic-Events

As a police detective knocked on doorways trying to find tips about a 3-year-old boy killed in a road rage capturing in West Backyard, neighborhood activists gathered Sunday morning to deal with the rising hazard of drivers with weapons.

“That’s utterly unacceptable on the very best diploma,” talked about Tio Hardiman, president of Violence Interrupters. “We’re supposed to protect kids.”

Hardiman and supporters met on the nook of Marquette Road and Kenneth Avenue, the place 3-year-old Mateo Zastro was shot and killed Friday whereas driving in his mother’s SUV.

Hardiman needs officers to distribute 100,000 flyers to show most of the people regarding the hazard of road rage and shootings.

The message: “Stop. Wait a minute. It’s not worth killing any person over a minor guests dispute,” Hardiman talked about.

Mateo Zastro, 3, was fatally shot on the Southwest Side in a road rage attack, according to Chicago police.

For years, Hardiman’s group has mediated gang conflicts. Nonetheless stopping road rage shootings is completely completely different; the shootings happen amongst strangers at random.

“It’s not simple. Nonetheless people need to assume sooner than they act. There’s infants out proper right here,” Hardiman talked about.

Mateo was killed throughout the once more seat of his mother’s automotive in what police talked about started as a “road rage incident” involving the mom and one different driver on Cicero Avenue. The boy’s mother tried to get away from the alternative car, however it absolutely adopted shut behind.

A male passenger throughout the once more seat of a crimson car — in all probability a Dodge Charger or a Ford Mustang — started capturing, police talked about. The boy was shot throughout the head not faraway from his home and died eight hours later at Advocate Christ Medical Coronary heart. Police have reported no arrests.

Sufferer advocate Andrew Holmes spoke with Mateo’s family Sunday morning, nevertheless they declined to speak publicly. “They’re nonetheless utterly in shock,” Holmes talked about.

The intersection of West Marquette Road and South Kenneth Avenue in the West Lawn neighborhood is seen, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, near where a 3-year-old child was fatally shot in the head.

The intersection of West Marquette Road and South Kenneth Avenue throughout the West Backyard neighborhood, the place a 3-year-old infant was fatally shot Friday.

Violent road rage incidents have elevated over the past three years. Illinois State Police talked about 35% of all expressway shootings this 12 months by way of June have been related to road rage, up from 12% closing 12 months.

“Getting ahead or getting even with one different driver simply isn’t undoubtedly well worth the hazard of a deadly crash or violence,” Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly talked about in a info launch this 12 months warning drivers of the sample.

Nationally, road rage violence doubled between 2019 and 2021, primarily based on Everytown Evaluation & Protection, a gun violence advocacy group. Ultimate 12 months, a median of 44 people per thirty days have been shot and killed or wounded in road rage shootings — double the pre-pandemic widespread, primarily based on the group.

Hardiman is conscious of the possibility of road rage personally. Three weeks up to now, he talked about he was merging from Interstate 55 to DuSable Lake Shore Drive when he accidentally reduce any person off, and the alternative driver waved a gun at him.

“I observed a person holding a gun out the window. You’ve purchased to be careful now,” he talked about.

Chicago has seen numerous cases of violent road rage this 12 months, along with an off-duty Chicago police officer who was wounded closing month in what authorities talked about was a guests battle, and in August, an individual who was stabbed to demise at a busy River North intersection. Moreover that month, a woman was shot throughout the head on the Stevenson Expressway when her boyfriend allegedly pointed a gun at an off-duty Chicago police officer who then opened hearth.

“Individuals are taking the roads too essential,” Hardiman talked about.

To deal with the violence, he needs to utilize the similar public messaging that popularized masking, social distancing and vaccines in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have now to take the similar steps to deal with road rage,” he talked about. “We have now to have 1000’s and 1000’s of flyers in the marketplace. We have now to inundate motorists in Chicago with flyer after flyer after flyer. … We’ve set to work more durable to chop again the levels of violent pondering proper right here in Chicago.”