It was another deadly holiday weekend in Chicago.
According to police data compiled by the Chicago Tribune, at least 39 people were shot between 3 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Tuesday. Eight people died — seven from shootings and one from strangulation.
Those killed included a 20-year-old woman who was shot and killed on her doorstep while she was celebrating her 2-year-old’s birthday. Police say the woman was struck by stray bullets and was likely not the target of the gunman.
Also killed was 17-year-old China Marie Lyons-Upshaw, who was home making plans for the following weekend’s prom when a man who, according to witnesses, had been “playing with a handgun” dropped the weapon, causing it to discharge. The girl was struck in the chest and died. The man turned himself in to police.
As violent as this holiday weekend was in Chicago, it was actually less violent than the past two years.
The Tribune reports 45 people were shot last year on Memorial Day weekend, with seven fatalities. Two years ago, 71 people were shot — six fatally.
Police dispatched 1,300 extra patrol officers this year with help from state and federal partners.
Deputy police chief Al Nagode said at a news conference he had additional officers monitoring neighborhoods with high gang populations to watch for retaliations after previous shootings.
“I’ve got my gang teams and my (saturation) teams and those guys that are working in the districts targeting not only the individuals that are driving the violence but the gangs that are creating the culture that’s allowing this violence to occur,” Nagode said.
Andrew Holmes, a local anti-violence activist, joined a crowd of mourners that gathered outside Lyons-Upshaw’s family’s apartment in the hours after her death. He said the Memorial Day weekend violence has become all too common in Chicago.
“It’s just a typical day where we lose the lives of our children and our teenagers, and also our adults,” Holmes told the Chicago Sun Times.
Community members are trying to find ways to discourage the violence. One neighborhood organized a basketball tournament and cookout for youngsters to not only occupy their time but also to introduce them to other youngsters in the community.
“That was the premise, to bring some guys to get to know each other,” Frederick Seaton, 58, an organizer who has lived in the community his entire life, told the Sun Times. “To let them know, this guy, he isn’t really a bad guy. They can get along, they can coexist. Get to know people on the other side of (the neighborhood).”
But some Chicago residents are resigned to the fact the start of summer means another season of increased gun violence is about to begin.
“I don’t like summer ‘cuz all this stuff happens,” a woman, who asked not to be identified, told the Sun Times. “My thing is the fall and winters, because everybody is barricaded inside, safe and sound.”
President Donald Trump, who has been a frequent critic of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his inability to curb the recurring violence in Chicago, posted a tweet Friday saying Emanuel has adopted policies that make it tougher for Chicago police to prevent some of the violence.
Chicago Police have every right to legally protest against the mayor and an administration that just won’t let them do their job. The killings are at a record pace and tough police work, which Chicago will not allow, would bring things back to order fast…the killings must stop!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2018
“The killings are at a record pace and tough police work, which Chicago will not allow, would bring things back to order fast,” Trump said. “The killings must stop!”
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