Chicago has one of the highest homicide rates in the country, so business is brisk at Leak & Son’s Funeral Home, which arranges nearly 3,000 funerals a year.
“On Saturday, the most funerals take place,” Spencer Leak Sr., president and CEO of the funeral home, told VICE News. “We may find ourselves with 10, 12, 15 church services throughout the community, all at the same time.”
What they’ve found is every mourning family mourns in its own way. VICE News followed the painful experience of one family grappling with the loss of their teenage son, Prince Kargou, as they said goodbye with the help of Leak & Sons.
Kargou’s father, who brought his children to Chicago to escape war-torn Liberia, and his girlfriend, who witnessed the murder, say the tragedy is an example of how the violence permeating the city is taking innocent victims.
“There should be no ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ in America,” Kargou’s father told VICE News. “But this city, Chicago, has become like a war zone.”
Kargou’s son was 19 when he was shot in the head while visiting a friend in the 7200 block of South Bennett on Sept. 3. He died the next day. Chicago police say Kargou wasn’t associated with gang violence, but no arrests have been made in his case. It’s a sad situation, but hardly a unique one: Kargou’s murder is just one of 461 in the city so far this year — and just one of several thousand Leak & Sons will handle this year.