DOLTON, Ill. (CBS) — A mother shot and killed in front of her children and a fatal drive-by shooting on Labor Day night are just two of the disturbing recent acts of violence in south suburban Dolton.
CBS 2’s Tara Molina on Tuesday was asking the village’s leaders what was being done to target the spike in crime.
It is a spike that we found is happening in one concentrated part of Dolton – specifically along Sibley Boulevard. CBS 2 was asking Tuesday night, what’s being done to make it safer?
On Tuesday night last week, Akeira Boston Akeira Boston, 16, was shot twice while sitting in a parked car outside a convenience store at 142nd Street and Woodlawn Avenue in Dolton. The teen was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center, where she later was pronounced dead.
The 16-year-old was set to start her junior year at Simeon Career Academy this week.
Authorities said the bullets were not meant for Akeira, but for the boy with whom she was at the store.
Less than a week before that, Marshia Bowman, a 40-year-old mother of eight, was hit by gunfire as she drove down Sibley Boulevard near Woodlawn Avenue just over a mile away from the scene of the Tuesday night shooting.
Bowman was driving home with her four youngest children on the night of Wednesday, Aug. 21, when someone in another car nearby started shooting.
She may have been caught in the crossfire when two groups started shooting at each other, but it was unclear who was the target.
Bowman was struck in the head and lost control of her minivan – crashing it into a tree near Cottage Grove Avenue. She was pronounced dead a couple of days later.
There was also a fatal drive-by shooting in the 15000 block of Meadow Lane near Sibley Boulevard on Monday night. Back on July 22, a car was riddled with more than 15 bullet holes and a driver was forced to get herself to hospital, while just weeks later, there was a police-involved shooting at a used car dealership in which an officer was injured.
Most of them have something in common – they happened on or near Sibley Boulevard, a major thoroughfare for people who live in the village and around it.
The incidents have people concerned, and drivers wary.
So CBS 2 called the chief of police and the Dolton Mayor’s office to see what’s being done to keep the community safe, specifically on Sibley Boulevard. We didn’t hear back this afternoon, so Molina and her crew drove to their offices and were told they weren’t available.
Meanwhile, a planned Dolton Board of Trustees meeting was canceled Tuesday night. CBS 2 turned to outspoken activist and Village Trustee Andrew Holmes.
“We just have to stay on top of it,” Holmes said.
When asked specifically if anything was being done to make the major thoroughfare of Sibley Boulevard safer, Holmes said, “Well, we have the patrol officers patrolling up and down.”
CBS 2 also got in touch with the Cook County Sheriff’s office. A representative said sheriff’s police have had up to five patrol units in Dolton every night since early August, at the city’s request.
The sheriff’s officers keep police numbers up during the late evening hours.
Holmes said there used to be 60 officers making up the police force for Dolton, that number now? The total is in the 20s.
That is why trustees just approved the hiring of 15 more officers. But Holmes said right now, it’s the community that needs to stay vigilant.
“Keep your eyes and ears open,” Holmes said. “Patrol cars are patrolling. But once that patrol car passes? Who knows who’s coming behind?”
Holmes said police are working tirelessly to hold the people behind the recent crimes here accountable, and that we should be hearing about arrests very soon.