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CHICAGO (AP) – Dwyane Wade has lashed out against Chicago’s gun laws, calling them weak and saying he’s urged officials in his hometown to enact changes to make the city safer.
The Chicago Bulls star, whose cousin was shot dead last week, also said his children are afraid of police officers in the same way he was growing up and that prisons need to better rehabilitate inmates. Wade added that he was left with “a bad taste” in his mouth when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted about his cousin’s murder.
Wade spoke to ABC News in an interview broadcast Friday. The funeral for Nykea Aldridge, a mother of four who was killed on a Chicago street, is Saturday.
“For our family, it was very tough,” Wade said.
Aldridge was one of 90 people killed in August in Chicago, a city that has been ravaged by gun violence and once had some of the nation’s strictest gun-control laws, many of which are no longer on the books. Wade is returning to Chicago this season after spending the first 13 years of his pro career with the Miami Heat.
“My purpose for being back in the city is bigger than basketball,” Wade said. “Basketball is a big part of it, of course. It’s what I do for a living. But I think my purpose at the end of the day is hopefully to come to Chicago and be a part and be the voice that can help bring people together.”
Aldridge, 32, was pushing her baby in a stroller near a school where she’d planned to register her children when she was shot in the head and arm. She wasn’t the intended target, police said.
Two brothers have been charged with her killing.
Chicago’s 90 homicides in August match the city’s most in any month since August 1996. Chicago police say 5,900 illegal guns have been confiscated this year already, and have said a fifth of the guns used in crimes in the city come in from neighboring Indiana.
“They are fighting a war,” Wade said of Chicago police. “And they can do a lot better, but they can get more help as well to do better. There’s other cities that have way tougher gun laws. We have weak gun laws.”
The Chicago Police Department responded in a statement that making the city safer will depend on strong partnerships with the community and help to keep repeat gun offenders off the streets.
“We will continue to target the gangs that drive the majority of violence,” said department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.