By Chinta Strausberg
Flanked by parents who have lost their children to gun violence and with tears in his eyes and his voice cracking with anger and sadness, Father Michael L. Pfleger Saturday announced he is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the murderer of Brian Pridgeon, the brother of Saint Sabinaâ€™s Peacemaker team.
â€œTwenty-miles North of here people are standing and shouting about the NFL Draft. Twenty miles South of here people are screaming and yelling people are dying. Four kill, 15 shot last night and this morning.” Looking at his supporters, Pfleger told reporters, “These parents have lost their children. They fight every dayâ€¦,â€ said Pfleger during a press conference held outside of the Saint Sabina Rectory.
Turning to Brandon Jackson, one of his Peacemakers, Father Pfleger said, â€œThis man lost his brother last night. When in the hell is this going to stopâ€¦? When in the hell are we going to be outraged enough…to say this is not acceptable in the city? Â â€œPeople mad about the title Chiraq. Be mad about the damn murders and the shootings going on. This is madness,â€ he said.
Pfleger said two young men were shot on the corner of 79th and Carpenter. â€œIâ€™m standing on the spot where my son (Jarvis Franklin) was shot and killed in1998,” he said referring to Jackson’s brother, Brian Pridgeon, who was murdered.
Last night, Pfleger watched Brandonâ€™s brother, Brian Pridgeonâ€™s, body lying on thegrass in the 7900 block of South Aberdeen.
While Pfleger said he will help any young man, but he made it clear that â€œWe will not tolerate killing in this community. Itâ€™s not going to happen. Weâ€™re going to fight it, and we will put up a bounty like we are doing today.â€
â€œWe want people to come out, speak and talkâ€¦. We got to break the code of silence. There is a code of silence not just in this community but in the countryâ€¦a code of silence of police officers in Baltimore, and there is a code of silence on Aberdeen and on Carpenter and all over the city of Chicago.
â€œThere is a code of silence with the police. There is a code of silence on the street. We got to break it everywhere. This murder is not acceptable whether it is by police or whether it is by the community. Itâ€™s not acceptable, and weâ€™re not going to tolerate it.â€ Pfleger begged the city â€œto do somethingâ€ to stem the escalation of violence.
With several parents speaking including Tommie Bosley, the father of Terrell Bosley who was killed April 4, 2006. He too called the murder of Pridgeon â€œunacceptable.â€â€œThey are killing everydayâ€¦. The person who took this manâ€™s life is running around. Somebody knows who did thisâ€¦. Donâ€™t wait until it becomes your son or your daughter before you get involved. This killing has to stopâ€¦.â€
Curtis Toler, a Peacemaker, said, â€œWe donâ€™t want any more lives to be lost. We beg for no retaliationâ€¦.â€
Brandon thanked everyone for coming out, but he was too grieved to take questions about his brother.
Chanting â€œput the guns down,â€ â€œstop the shooting, stop the killing, stop the violenceâ€¦,â€the group, led by Pfleger and Jackson, marched East on 79th Street to the 7900 block of South Aberdeen where they passed out reward flyers lstopping at the site where Pridgeonâ€™s body was found.
Falling to his knees by the blood that still stained the grass where Pridgeon was shot, Father Pfleger said he hopes the stain stays. â€œWe bind the evil spirit of violence.Â We bind the use of guns that are proliferating all over the city, all over the country. It has become a part of our wardrobe. We come against it, God. We donâ€™t need guns. We have minds. We can talk to each other. We can reason with each otherâ€¦. God hear our cry. Weâ€™re asking for wisdom and strengthâ€¦.â€
Pridgeonâ€™s body was found by a tree that had a white Rest In Peace (RIP) sign tacked onto the trunk and signed by his friends. Blue and white balloons also adorned the tree.
After the group said a collective prayer, Glenda Franklin sang, â€œLord We Need youâ€¦.â€
The group then marched back to the church.
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.