Why they won’t stop shooting in Chicago

This is the story of why they won’t stop shooting in Chicago. It’s told by the wounded, the accused and the officers who were on the street during a weekend in April 2008 when 40 people were shot, seven fatally. Two years later, the grim reality is this: Nearly all of the shooters from that weekend have escaped charges. Read More


Two years after murder, family still waiting for justice


On an alarmingly bloody weekend in April 2008 -- a weekend so violent it put Chicago on the national news -- Angel Ramirez was the last to die. The burly 26-year-old whom friends called “Buttercup” was next door to his buddy’s house in a gang-infested corner of Little Village where a birthday party was breaking up. It was 10:25 p.m. A blue light glowed atop a police surveillance camera across from the party as a gray Chevy Impala slowly crept down 21st Street.

‘No-snitch’ code keeps shooters on streets


Originally published July 27, 2010 At Gene’s Playmate Lounge at Cermak and Kildare, you can’t have a drink unless you’re at least 25 years old. Young guys who might be packing pistols can get a cold beer somewhere else, owner Gene Payton said. Playmate regulars …

Time running out on justice for boy who was shot


Originally published Sept. 19, 2010:

Martrell Stevens has made great strides since an errant bullet left him partially paralyzed two years ago at the age of 4.

He can swim, take steps with the aid of a walker and play wheelchair basketball.

But the wheels …

Police: Even while dying, teen won’t talk


Robert Tate wasn’t ever going to snitch -- not even when it came to his own murder, according to the Chicago Police. Tate, 17, was shot in the chest as someone approached him on a West Side sidewalk on the evening of April 12, police say. Seeing that Tate was wounded badly and probably wouldn’t make it, an officer asked: Do you know who shot you? “I know,” Tate told him. “But I ain’t telling you s---.”

The violent world of police beat 624


Originally published May 23, 2010

The most violent part of Chicago? It’s a section of Chatham, the largely middle-class, African-American neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side that has long been a bastion of black lawyers, cops, plumbers and other professionals, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis has found. …

Area 5 Homicide, Part I: 'I think we have a fresh one, guys'


AREA 5 HOMICIDE, PART 1 OF 3: For four months, Chicago Sun-Times reporter Frank Main and photographer John J. Kim shadowed two detectives in the Chicago Police Department’s Area 5 Homicide and got a glimpse of what they’re up against.

Area 5 Homicide, Part 2: Parents, cops search for justice


INSIDE A CHICAGO MURDER, PART 2: The parents of murder victim No. 42 of 2009 on Chicago’s Northwest Side came into the Area 5 Homicide office for the first time one week after their teenage son was shot and killed on a sidewalk in Palmer Square. Loreto Miguel’s mother and father had the same questions the parents of a teenage murder victim always have: Do you know who did this?

Area 5 Homicide: ‘Back to square one’ after pieces don’t fit


INSIDE A CHICAGO MURDER, PART 3: On the streets of the Northwest Side and inside Area 5 Homicide, one thing is usually a given: Detectives Tony Noradin and Don Falk do not curse. They don’t even raise their voices. “There’s no need introducing more stress into the job than we already have,” Falk said. But Aug. 31, 2009, wasn’t a usual day.

Photo Essay: Go behind the scenes with Area 5 detectives

An audio-visual examination of Area 5.