Gunfire in one of Chicago’s deadliest neighborhoods kills aspiring videographer – and city marks 800th murder of the year
Around dawn on Tuesday, Sheridan Freeman was in a West Pullman home when there were gunshots and the 23-year-old was shot, becoming the 800th recorded homicide victim in Chicago this year.
Crossing this lethal mark was common in the 1990s, but has since become rare. Murders have been rising in the city for two straight years now, and shootings are rising at an even faster rate, according to data from the Sun-Times.
Freeman was killed on a block where there had been a shooting the previous day, in a neighborhood that is among Chicago’s deadliest, despite being targeted for additional resources by City Hall.
Police have released few details about Freeman’s death. He was shot at around 6:30 a.m. inside a small frame house in the 12000 block of South Stewart Avenue, less than a mile from where he lived.
Freeman had a one-year-old son and was a budding videographer who often filmed his brother rapping, his mother said.
“He was fun loving, very smart and talented,” Diane Archer said. “He made videos and wanted to go to film school. But time ran out.
A day before Freeman was shot, a 29-year-old man was injured in a drive-by shooting as he walked down the same block at 3:15 a.m., police said.
Police reported no arrests in either shooting.
Shootings and murders increased dramatically in Chicago at the start of 2020, increasing 50% from the previous year. The pace has picked up this year.
Chicago recorded 784 homicides in 2020 and 552 in 2019, according to medical examiner data. There were 806 homicides in 2016.
At least 4,328 people have been shot in Chicago so far this year, according to police data, compared to 4,013 in 2020 and 2,556 in 2019 during the same time periods.
More than 50% of the violence took place in 15 of Chicago’s 77 community areas.
These 15 areas were targeted with increased violence prevention spending in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Our City, Our Safety plan, introduced in 2019. It funds street outreach, affordable housing, job training , health and wellness, community development.
But since violent crime began to rise here and nationally in early 2020, most areas targeted for additional spending have seen an increase in shootings and murders.
One such targeted area is West Pullman, which has seen one of the biggest increases in violence. Murders have jumped 450% since 2019 in West Pullman, from six murders in 2019 to 34 this year, according to a Sun-Times analysis of data from the city.
The West Side has some of the deadliest neighborhoods. At least 69 people have been killed in Austin this year, 43 in Lawndale. Humboldt Park, like West Pullman, recorded 34 murders.
On the south side, Greater Grand Crossing and Auburn Gresham each have 38 murders; South Shore, 37; Englewood, 32; and Roseland, 26.
Eleven community areas in Chicago have had no murders this year, most on the North Side or far northwest.