Will County politicians react to 'horrific weekend' after deadly shootings in Texas, Ohio

Two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left 31 people dead and about 50 injured elicited calls for change from Will County politicians.

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, wrote in a Facebook post Sunday that he was "devastated" by the two mass shootings.

“Americans should never have to fear for their safety when they’re out shopping, attending a festival or enjoying their town’s nightlife,” he wrote. “We must overcome our differences and work together on commonsense solutions.”

About a week earlier, he and his wife were vacationing in northern California at the Gilroy Garlic Festival when a gunman opened fire on the crowd. While Lipinski and his wife were unharmed, three people, including a 6-year-old boy, were killed.

Lipinski's opponents in the 2020 Democratic primary for his seat, La Grange businesswoman Marie Newman, Chicago attorney Abe Matthew and Chicago businessman Rush Darwish, also called for change.

Newman called the El Paso shooting "white nationalist terrorism" in a Facebook post Sunday and called on her followers to tell U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, to bring background check legislation up for a vote. She also asked supporters to donate to Democrat Amy McGrath, who is running against McConnell for his Senate seat in 2020.

Matthew wrote in a Facebook post July 29, after the drive-by killing of two Chicago women and the shooting at the garlic festival, that the Senate needed to act to keep guns "out of the hands of the malevolent."

Darwish wrote in a tweet Sunday that Congress needed to ban assault rifles and implement universal background checks for gun purchases.

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, called on the Senate to take up the legislation, which the House already passed.

“What a horrific weekend,” Foster said in a Facebook post Sunday. “We don’t need to live like this, and we must reject those who want us to accept it.”

Will County Board member Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet, who is challenging Foster in the 2020 Democratic primary, said in a statement that she preferred to talk about the causes for such violence and called for unity.

“While some politicians will only use this opportunity to call for stricter gun laws, I will also use my voice to call for a government that represents everyone ... so that we may share in our prosperity and not only in our grief,” she said.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, wrote in a tweet Sunday that Americans must be protected against the “escalating threat of domestic terrorism.” She said Congress receives monthly briefings on new threats, including white nationalism.

“What a scary and dangerous time in our country,” she said.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.