CHICAGO — At least 17 people were killed and more than 40 others were injured in shootings since Friday in the nation’s third-largest city, marking the deadliest weekend in what has been the city’s most violent year in more than a decade.
There’s already been more than 600 homicides in Chicago this year. The city is tallying murders at a rate not seen since the late 1990s in the midst of violence fueled by the crack cocaine epidemic.
Police and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have blamed the current spike in street violence on increased gang activity and gun laws that they say aren’t strong enough to deter convicted felons from carrying and using weapons. The vast majority of the murders have occurred in predominantly African-American neighborhoods on the city's South and West sides.
“These violent gun offenders are clearly giving us the message that they just don’t care about the rest of the city of Chicago," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters Monday. “To be quite frank, I’m sick of it, and I know the people in the communities are tired of it. That’s why we have to do a better job of holding those individuals accountable.”
Among the victims of the weekend violence were 17-year-old twins Edward and Edwin Bryant who were killed early Sunday in an apparent drive-by shooting in the city’s Old Town neighborhood. Johnson said the shooting was possibly gang-related. The brothers were not documented gang members but were with others who did have gang affiliations.
No one was in custody for the double homicide, but police have video footage of the incident that they hope will lead detectives to assailants.
In a separate drive-by shooting Saturday, 14-year-old Demarco Webster Jr. was shot in the torso as he was standing on the street on the city’s West Side. Police said witnesses saw someone in a dark-colored sedan shoot at Webster before fleeing the scene. Demarco was transported to a nearby suburban hospital but later succumbed to his injuries.
Two people were fatally shot late Friday evening as they sat in a car parked at a gas station on the city’s South Side when a man approached them and fired multiple shots before fleeing the scene. Brian Fields, 30, suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and Chiquita Ford, 30, suffered fatal wound on the right side of her body.
Fields had been injured in a shooting in early March. In that incident, Fields was live-streaming himself on Facebook Live when a gunman opened fire on him.
The violent stretch marks the deadliest weekend Chicago has seen since the 2014 Independence Day weekend, when 16 were killed and 66 were wounded. The city also saw 13 killed in shootings over Father's Day weekend and Labor Day weekend this year.
Chicago has recorded at least 2,800 shooting incidents through Oct. 16, according to police department data. The number of murders has climbed by about 44% compared with last year and has also seen significant increases in sexual assaults (16%), robbery (25%) and theft (19%) compared with the same time last year.