Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Chicago hits 500 homicides for 2016

Chicago hits 500 homicides for 2016

The nation’s third largest city reached the grim toll of 500 homicides for the year after tallying 13 fatal shootings over the Labor Day weekend, police said.

The holiday weekend killings, along with dozens of non-fatal shootings, come after police recorded 92 murders in August, the deadliest month for Chicago since June 1993. With murders up roughly 50% for the year, Chicago has tallied more murders than much larger cities New York and Los Angeles combined.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson blames the recent surge in killings on increased gang activity and gun laws he says are too weak to be an effective deterrent. The city is on pace to record well over 600 murders for 2016, a threshold it has not reached since 2003. In the 1990s, in the midst of gang violence driven by the crack-cocaine epidemic, Chicago regularly recorded more than 700 murders per year.

The city recorded 473 murders in 2015, according to police department data. Chicago surpassed the 500 homicide threshold over the holiday weekend, according to data tracked by the Chicago Tribune.

Over this Labor Day weekend, the city experienced the most jarring spasm of violence over 14 hours on Monday, when nine people were killed.

The latest fatal shooting occurred around 10:45 p.m. Monday on the city’s West Side, when someone in a silver mini-van opened fire on a group of teens and young men, police said. Two 22-year-old men were killed in the incident — and three others, ages 16, 17, and 20 — were seriously wounded.

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