Ken Herzlich figures he’s covered 1,700 homicides.
For years, the video journalist has worked the graveyard shift in Chicago, recording the sights and sounds of overnight crime scenes, disasters and fires to viewers at home.
Night after night, Herzlich hits the streets to cover the plague of violence, including its skyrocketing homicide rate. Last week, a shooting rampage on a playground left 13 people injured including a toddler, and there were multiple shootings over the weekend.
“In the last couple of years, the shootings have been more intense,” he said. "People are not, first of all, willing to turn the other cheek any more. There seems to be a serious problem with anger management going on and somebody's gonna get shot over the most miniscule, crazy, stupid things. But all of a sudden, a gun comes out and there's shooting. They're not necessarily pointing. They just kinda shoot sideways. And you can't hit the side of a barn shooting sideways. And that's how these little kids are now getting shot, innocent people.”
America Tonight rode along two nights as Herzlich covered the crime beat in one of the nation’s most dangerous cities. Take a look at a night on the job for him in the slideshow above.
“Chicago's a city where if it's not in my backyard then I don't want to be bothered,” said Pat Curry, managing editor of WGN-TV News. “And part of what Ken has done, is [put it] in your backyard even if you are 10 miles away. Because somehow we are all going to pay the cost of violence no matter where it happens.”
Photos courtesy of Alissa Shapiro.