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The long Fourth of July weekend in Chicago was riven by violence, with dozens of shootings across the city. Since Thursday afternoon, when the holiday weekend began in earnest, at least 82 people were shot, 14 of them killed, according to the Chicago Tribune:
Many of the long weekend’s shootings were on the South Side, clustered in the Englewood, Roseland, Gresham and West Pullman neighborhoods that rank among the most violent in the city.
The victims ranged from the 14-year-boy shot by police in the Old Irving Park neighborhood to a 66-year-old woman grazed in the head as she walked up the steps of her porch on the Far South Side. Most victims were in their late teens and 20s.
Nearly all of the people shot and killed were black or Hispanic men, the Chicago Sun-Times noted, which speaks to a larger issue nationwide: Black people are much, much more likely to be killed by gunfire than white people. The Department of Justice reported that in 2010, the rate of firearm homicides for black people was 14.6 per 100,000 people and the rate for Hispanic people was about 4 per 100,000. By comparison, the rate for white people was 1.9 per 100,000.
Five people were shot by Chicago police, and two of them — both teenagers — were killed. The Chicago Police Department said in a pair of statements that the fatal shootings occurred when people aimed guns at officers, adding that the incidents were under investigation.
The bloodshed came despite the police announcing that 300 officers would be placed in certain areas in the city that had seen more violence. And it came just days after the police department announced that while there were more shootings and shooting victims during the first half of 2014 than there were during the same period a year earlier, the number of murders had declined slightly.
“The number of shootings and murders that took place over the holiday weekend is simply unacceptable, and points out that we still have work to do…This violence is unacceptable wherever it occurs in our city and all of us need to take a stand,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said in a statement on Monday.
Garry McCarthy, the police superintendent, also called the weekend violence “unacceptable” on Monday morning, again stressing his belief that there need to be stronger laws punishing people for illegally owning guns. Police had announced last week that they had seized more than 3,200 guns during the first half of the year, which they said illustrated the need for laws that would keep illegal guns off of the city’s streets.
Last year, there were 55 people injured and another 11 killed during shootings over the Independence Day holiday.
This post has been updated to add the Emanuel statement.