LOS ANGELES – At least 16 U.S. cities witnessed record-high homicide rates in 2021, while New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, saw notable homicide spikes. Who were the victims in these American cities?
New data provided by Freedom of Information Act requests and analyzed by Fox News shows Black males were overwhelmingly the No. 1 demographic killed in most cities.
In Chicago, which tallied the most homicides since 1996, 648 of the city’s 797 homicide victims were Black.
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 105 of the city’s 133 homicides were Black males. In Columbus, Ohio, 135 of the city’s 204 homicides were of Black males. In Louisville, Kentucky, 133 of the city’s 197 homicide victims were Black males. In St. Paul, Minnesota, 17 of the city’s 38 homicides were of Black males.
In Los Angeles, 397 people were killed in 2021 — the most in a year since 2007. Hispanic males were the top demographic killed in L.A. last year, 183 in total, in a city that has a much larger Hispanic than Black population.
Cortlyn Bridges of Monrovia, California, sat down with Fox News to talk about the loss of her 28-year-old daughter, Ky Thomas, who was shot and killed in December 2020 after a sunset scooter ride on the Venice Beach boardwalk.
“It’s an undescribable pain. It’s a piercing pain that I don’t think any mother should have to experience,” Bridges told Fox News.
Bridges said Ky had an 8-year-old daughter and had just given birth to a son weeks before her murder. Ky and her husband were returning rented scooters to the rental shop when something went awry, and Ky was shot.
“My daughter was not a gang member,” Bridges said, “under no circumstances.”
Bridges said her entire family, the alleged killer’s families and the community all have been bearing the pain of Ky’s murder.
“We all lose out. Nobody wins. My daughter, she’s never coming back,” Bridges said. “Their parents, their families, the only difference is, they can still get phone calls. They can get visits. They can get letters. My daughter, she can never call me.”
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Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón’s office recently announced the arrest of two suspects in Ky Thomas’ death. Isiah Eugene Caldwell Jr., 28, and Jonathan Michael Singh, 30. Both faced one count each of murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Gascón now has been asking the public for help arresting additional suspects involved and wrote in a statement, “My deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of Ky Thomas and my heart breaks for her small children and her mother who has fought so diligently for justice.”
There is progress in Bridges’ case – but Gascón and many other district attorneys have been under fire for what critics have called “soft on crime” policies contributing to the nation’s spike in homicides.
Fox News spoke to Eric Siddall, a prosecutor in Gascón’s office and vice president of the Association for Deputy District Attorneys in Los Angeles. Siddall is a registered Democrat and calls himself a socially “liberal,” but he said he blames Gascón’s policies for L.A.’s homicide and crime spike.
“One of the big drivers of crime in Los Angeles are guns and gangs and right now, this district attorney has basically said we cannot prosecute people for gang crimes and is not interested in prosecuting people for gun crimes, and that has really led to this surge in homicides,” Siddall said.
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He added that similar policies nationwide have affected people of color – primarily Black men.
“Right now, the system, especially certain types of district attorneys, are siding with the criminal over the victim,” Siddall said.
Fox News reached out to Gascón’s office for comment about this case but did not hear back. At a news conference touting his accomplishments this past December, Gascón explained his philosophy of prosecuting L.A.’s crime, saying a “punishment-based” approach did not serve L.A. well.
“I have begun to transform the criminal legal system in ways that holds people accountable while serving the residents of Los Angeles County with fairness and humanity,” Gascón said.
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Bridges said she forgave her daughter’s killers, but was concerned any additional suspects in the case could be tried as juveniles and face a minimum sentence for her daughter’s murder.
“This crime is horrible and there’s no accountability. The judicial system is failing our children,” Bridges said. “I have peace because I know where my daughter’s soul is. I have peace because I know the kind of person she is. And, I have peace because I can forgive.”