Hundreds of People Carrying Crosses March Silently in Downtown Chicago to Mark City’s Deadliest Year

Residents, activists, and friends and family members of victims of gun violence march down Michigan Avenue carrying nearly 800 wooden crosses bearing the names of people murdered in the city in 2016, Dec. 31, 2016 in Chicago. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Residents, activists, and friends and family members of victims of gun violence march down Michigan Avenue carrying nearly 800 wooden crosses bearing the names of people murdered in the city in 2016, Dec. 31, 2016 in Chicago. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Hundreds of people marched silently in downtown Chicago on Saturday, carrying white crosses for each person killed in the city this year.

A spike in homicides this year has made 2016 the city’s deadliest. Authorities say more than 760 people were killed in Chicago in 2016, up from the fewer than 500 homicides in the city last year.

According to crime statistics from the Chicago Police Department, a shooting has occurred every day in the city from February 2015 to December 29 of this year.

As the New Year approaches, Rev. Michael Pfleger, who organized the march, said he hopes the visuals of the demonstration along Michigan Avenue will encourage others to take action to prevent further violence in 2017. The two-foot-tall crosses, which were built by Aurora resident Greg Zanis, each bear the name of a person killed this year.

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Among the victims is 17-year-old Elijah Jones, who was gunned down on December 6 in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. Jones’ grandmother walked in the march Saturday holding a cross with his name, according to ABC station WLS-TV.

The crosses will be placed in an empty lot on the city’s South Side following the march against violence.

Melva Pratt carries a cross as she marches with other residents, activists, and family members of victims of gun violence down Michigan Avenue, Dec. 31, 2016 in Chicago. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Melva Pratt carries a cross as she marches with other residents, activists, and family members of victims of gun violence down Michigan Avenue, Dec. 31, 2016 in Chicago. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The Rev. Jesse Jackson (L) and Rev. Michael Pfleger carry crosses as they march with other residents, activists, and family members of victims of gun violence down Michigan Avenue, Dec. 31, 2016 in Chicago. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The Rev. Jesse Jackson (L) and Rev. Michael Pfleger carry crosses as they march with other residents, activists, and family members of victims of gun violence down Michigan Avenue, Dec. 31, 2016 in Chicago. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

SOURCE: ABC News, Morgan Winsor; The Associated Press