Refugee Family Flees Rampant Chicago Gun Violence, Settles Under Pile Of Blankets On Wisconsin Street

During a patrol Sunday morning, a Madison, Wisconsin police officer discovered an extended family of 10 huddled under a pile of blankets on a downtown street.

The group, the cop reported, included four adults, a five-month-old baby, several toddlers, and two older children. As detailed in a Madison Police Department incident report, the adults “were shocked” by the veteran officer’s concern for their welfare.

And that is when the homeless adults--who apparently had been on the streets for two weeks--explained why they were camped on a sidewalk near the State Capitol.

“They explained they had escaped the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side,” police noted. The group, which was not seeking handouts, told the officer that they “fled Chicago from where a lot of shootings and deaths were occurring.” The officer added, “It was just too dangerous to stay; some people they knew were killed.”

Ongoing gang warfare has resulted in a spike in gun violence in Chicago, where the homicide rate is disproportionately high compared to other large U.S. cities. Englewood has been described as one of the Second City’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

Aided by cops, the family quickly received aid--food, money, and short-term lodging--from three local churches. The report notes that while the family’s “future still holds many questions,” they are now “away from the bullets.”

The incident report does not describe the refugee family’s housing situation in Chicago, or how they made the approximately 150-mile trip to Madison.