CHICAGO – Business is disturbingly steady for Spencer Leak, Sr.
It’s not that he is unaccustomed to be being busy. After all, he is a successful funeral home director with two locations and his family has been in the funeral business for almost 80 years.
It’s just that many of the people arriving for their “homegoing,” as the services often are called, are so young. Leak said he’s been doing upwards of 125 funerals a year for homicide victims, many of them young adults, some just teenagers, who are victims of the recent surge in violence rocking this city.
“These kids don’t expect to live a full life,” said Leak, a former executive director of the Cook County Department of Corrections. “You get about a thousand other kids who come to these funerals. They see how it’s celebrated and they think this is how I’ll be celebrated when I get shot.”
Chicago’s police commissioner has pointed to gang-related conflicts as the driving force behind the recent surge in gun deaths. From the start of this year through June 18, at least 240 people have been killed, according to the Chicago Police Department.
Just last weekend seven people were killed and 35 injured – marking the third weekend in a row with gunfire victims totaling well into the double digits. The weekend before, 46 people were hurt and eight killed across Chicago. The previous weekend, 29 were injured and three were killed in shootings.
Click here to read the rest of this story.