Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY; see also.
CHICAGO — At least 64 people were shot in the nation’s third largest city over the Independence Day weekend, including four people who were fatally wounded.
The grim violence in Chicago, which has recorded 329 homicides already this year, continued despite stepped up street patrols by the
Chicago Police Department and the arrest of 88 gang members in two of the city’s most violent neighborhoods ahead of the holiday weekend.
Chicago, which has tallied more homicides than New York and Los Angeles combined so far this year, tallied fewer gun violence fatalities during this holiday weekend compared to previous years. Last year, police reported 10 killed and 55 wounded during the July 4 weekend, and 16 were killed and 66 were wounded in 2014.
As of early Monday night, three people had been killed and 36 others had been injured, leading Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to express guarded optimism that the city would see a marked decline in violence for the holiday weekend, historically among the most violent in Chicago.
But following Johnson’s comments, there were more than two dozen shooting incidents late Monday and early Tuesday, mostly on the city’s South and West sides where patrols had been stepped up.
“It’s another example of the fact that we have too many guns on the streets of Chicago and too many people willing to use them,” Johnson told reporters Tuesday.
The homicide victims included a man in his 30s who police found shot in his abdomen, another man who was found shot dead in a lot across the street from an elementary school and a 31-year-old man who was killed outside his father’s auto shop. The wounded included a 5-year-old girl and her 8-year-old cousin, who were each shot in the leg as they played with sparklers Monday night, the
Chicago Tribune reported.
The city tallied 72 homicides for June, and homicides were up nearly 50% for the first half of 2016 compared to the same period last year. The city is on pace to record well over 600 homicides for the year, a bleak yardstick that Chicago last surpassed in 2003.
Johnson and Mayor
Rahm Emanuel have blamed lax laws that allow gang members, who are responsible for the bulk of the gun violence, to return to the streets relatively quickly.
In addition to the four people killed in gun violence over the holiday weekend, a fifth person was stabbed to death in the city in what police say was a domestic dispute.
Follow USA TODAY Chicago correspondent Aamer Madhani on Twitter @AamerISmad