A homeless man has been arrested in connection with a spree of attacks on women over ten days in Chicago including a doctoral student who was stabbed to death in broad daylight, as crime surges across the city and the country.
Police believe the man is responsible for three separate attacks on women who were all grabbed from behind as they walked in the Loop area of downtown Chicago.
Maryland graduate student Anat Kimchi, 31, was stabbed three times in the back at 4pm on June 19 as she walked on a sidewalk that overlooks the Eisenhower Expressway.
Police say the suspect, who was living in a nearby homeless encampment, then fled the scene.
Kimchi was later pronounced dead at Northwest Memorial Hospital, WBBM-TV reports.
The same man has been linked to two other attacks against women in the same area.
On June 10, a 25-year-old woman was hit from behind with an object in the 500 block of South Franklin Street.
Three days later, an identical crime occurred with a 50-year-old woman near the Congress Hotel on East Ida B. Wells Drive.
Chicago Police did not provide details of the alleged attacker after his arrest, but said in a brief statement: ‘A person of interest is in custody and being questioned in connection to … a recent Homicide and Aggravated Battery incidents in the 1st District.’
An earlier community alert had described the suspect as a black male in his 30s of around 5’10” tall, and possibly wearing a bandana.
Amat Kimchi was the third woman attacked in the same Chicago area over a ten-day period when she was stabbed in the back
Police say the assailant who murdered Kimchi lived close to the area and was part of a homeless encampment
Kimchi, 31, was stabbed three times in the back on June 19 as she walked on a sidewalk that overlooks the Eisenhower Expressway
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said earlier this week that the suspect was caught on surveillance cameras, but refused to release the video to the media.
The attack spree comes as Chicago continues to be plagued by a growing crime wave.
There have been 309 murders in Chicago between January 1 and June 25, 2021 – a 4 percent increase from the 296 homicides reported over same period in 2020, according to police statistics.
In the same period, there was an approximate 15 percent increase in shootings with 1,402 reported in 2021 as opposed to 1,224 reported in 2020.
Sexual batteries are also up a shocking 23%, with 954 cases in 2021 compared to 773 in 2020.
Chicago suffered 35 separate shootings over the weekend, that left at least five people dead and 44 others injured.
The deaths include a 31-year-old man who was shot when a light-colored vehicle pulled up to the sidewalk he was standing on and started firing at him, a 32-year-old woman who was riding in a car on Sunday morning when she was struck by gunfire from another car, and a 21-year-old man who was driving his Jeep on Sunday when a person pulled up next to him and began firing, striking him in the head.
A 28-year-old woman was also shot and killed when she, a 15-year-old boy and a 31-year-old man were standing outside and were fired at from a distance by an ‘unidentified man,’ police NBC 5 Chicago. The woman sustained a gunshot wound to her head and was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
The boy, meanwhile, was shot in the right leg and is said to be in good condition, and the 31-year-old man sustained a gunshot wound to the shoulder but refused medical treatment at the scene.
Murder rates in Chicago have gone up from 2020 to 2021
And in another deadly shooting in the city on Saturday night, two individuals were attacked by a group of men after a crash took place at Humboldt Park, prompting a large crowd to surround Gyovanny Arzuaga’s vehicle.
He and his girlfriend, Yasmin Perez, were attending a Puerto Rican People’s Day parade in the park, Newsweek reported, when a group of two or three gunmen ambushed them and opened fire.
A video of the incident, posted to Twitter, purportedly shows Arzuaga surrounded by a group of men, who leave him lying unresponsive on the ground.
Arzuaga, a 24-year-old father of two, sustained an injury to his head and was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Perez, 25, sustained a gunshot to her neck and died days later.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday vowed to hunt down everyone involved in the ‘horrific’ weekend shooting that left Perez and Arzuaga dead.
‘You know who you are. People know who you are,’ Lightfoot said in a warning to the perpetrators.
‘You need to turn yourself in because we are gonna spare no resource whatsoever to find them and you and bring you to justice and make sure that these people who created such brazen chaos and harm are held in custody ’til they see their day in court,’ the mayor said.
Video from an attach at Humboldt Park purportedly shows a group of men surrounding Gyovanny Arzuaga
Earlier this month, a mass shooting left four people dead and four seriously injured in Chicago’s Southside. Denise Mathis, 32, Rantanya Rogers, 28, Blake Lee, 34, and Shermetria Williams, 19, were killed in the home early Tuesday morning.
Police later said that the crimes were carried out by two gunmen who shot all but one of the victims in the head execution-style.
Citing a preliminary report, Chicago police spokesman Steve Rusanov said that someone broke into the home some time before 5.40am on Tuesday and started shooting.
Later that day, four people were wounded and one was left in critical condition after a gunman opened fire in West Garfield Park, Fox 32 reported.
It was the city’s fourth mass shooting within a week.
Denise Mathis, 32, Rantanya Rogers, 28, Blake Lee, 34, and Shermetria Williams, 19, were killed in last Tuesday’s shooting in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood. The victims are pictured above from left to right
Chicago is also experiencing crime in areas that had generally been considered safe like the Magnificent Mile commercial district and tony Oak Street, where last August rapper FBG Duck was shot dead in broad daylight.
‘I’ve never felt more unsafe than I do now,’ Steve Burrows, a 48-year-old attorney and lifelong Chicago resident said. ‘I work downtown so I’m here every day during the day but I won’t come down here at night or on the weekend.’
A Chicago police spokesman wrote in a statement to the Chicago Tribune that police are using ‘data-driven prevention and enforcement’ to prepare for the usually more violent summer months.
‘This includes deploying resources to areas experiencing unacceptable levels of violence, working alongside other City agencies as part of our crime fighting strategy and conducting multiple tabletop exercises as part of this citywide coordination,’ reads the statement.
After the rush of shootings, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for more federal assistance to help curb the spike in illegal guns coming into the city.
However, she remained optimistic and said, ‘The reality is our city is safe. I stand by that.’
After the rush of shootings, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for more federal assistance to help curb the spike in illegal guns coming into the city
Lightfoot has drawn the ire of a number of leaders in Chicago, who claim that she isn’t doing enough to combat the surge in crime.
Last month, Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police unanimously voted that they have ‘no confidence’ in her leadership.
Lightfoot, who concurrently made headlines for refusing to do one-on-one interviews with white journalists, said: ‘Getting a vote of no confidence from that guy is a badge of honor, and I accept it.’
The Windy City’s police union President John Catanzara previously said the main reason for the no-confidence vote is officer burnout.
Catanzara said the department’s move from 8.5-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts in preparation for unrest and cancelled days off created poor working conditions. The long hours have created mental health problems for some officers, problems at home because the spouse is left to raise the kids on their own.
They have also triggered alcoholism in some officers, as well as a lack of morale, he said.
Nevertheless, the uptick in crime isn’t unique to Chicago as cities throughout the country are combatting similar surges in shootings and other illegal activity.
Former NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton warned that American cities are in for a ‘very, long dangerous summer’ as murder rates skyrocket nationwide.
At least 11 people were killed and dozens injured in a spate of 50 shootings nationwide over the weekend.
Ten mass shootings – defined as those that injure four or more people – were reported across nine states – bringing the total reported this year to 293, according to the Gun Violence Archive. More than 20,000 Americans have died of gun violence so far this year as the nation rebounds from the coronavirus crisis.
Mass shootings, defined as those that injure four or more people, were reported over the weekend in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Aurora, Colorado; Granger, Indiana; Richmond, Virginia; Anchorage, Alaska; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Dallas, Texas; and Oakland, California.
They resulted in seven deaths, according to CNN, and 45 injuries, and come just one week after another 10 mass shootings were reported across seven stated that killed 12 people and injured 57 more.
The Gun Violence Archive reports that there have been 20,695 shooting deaths across the country since the year began
In total, there have been 20,695 shooting deaths across the country since the year began, according to the Gun Violence Archive, with 9,543 people murdered in shootings and 18,246 people injured.
Gun assaults, meanwhile, have increased 22 percent in just the first three months of this year, CNN reported at the time, and homicide rates in more than 30 American cities increased by 24 percent compared to the same time period last year.
Experts blame the increase on a combination of an economic collapse, de-policing in the wake of mass protests following the George Floyd shooting and the release of criminal defendants during the pandemic.
In New York, crime has been up throughout the city, with increases in almost every category since last year.