A weekend of violence in Chicago left 72 people shot and 13 dead, according to reports.
The Chicago Police Department said 46 people in total were arrested on gun charges and 60 guns were recovered. The victims include an 11-year-old and 13-year-old who were both killed.
Incidents range from a shooting that left eight people wounded when a group opened fire in an open courtyard to a man dying after he was shot in the neck. Sunday morning, two separate incidents left 10 young people under the age of 25 injured and a 17-year-old girl dead.
At a fiery news conference, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he was outraged by the shootings, lashing out at citizens who criticize police but do little to stop the violence. Johnson said shootings aren’t random but are the result of ongoing gang conflicts.
“I hear people holding us accountable all the time,” he said. “I never hear people saying, ‘These individuals out here in the streets need to stop pulling the trigger.’ I never heard it. It’s the same individuals that continually commit those crimes. Where is the accountability for them?”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel tried to ease tensions and also called on citizens to help in the effort to control the violence. Emanuel said that residents need to come forward to police about who’s committing crime.
“What happened this weekend did not happen in every neighborhood in Chicago, but it is unacceptable to happen in any neighborhood of Chicago,” he said “We are a better city. Therefore, all of us who love the city and call it home have a responsibility to heal our neighborhoods.”
Tuesday, Emanuel and Johnson announced new initiatives to fight against violence. The measures include the deployment of more than 400 officers on the street during the week and 600 more in several districts during the weekend.
This week several pastors in Chicago came together at a hospital where several victims were treated for injuries. The pastors say that resources and jobs in the community are what’s needed to eradicate the violence.
“Why is there such a focus on police, a focus on trauma, all the money is being spent there, and not being spent on job training and helping our communities find peace?” said community organizer the Rev. Darius Randle.
Apostle David Rogers of House of Prayer for All Nations said Chicago is turning into a Third World country and no one seems to be doing anything about it.
“We have yet to offer any strategy,” he said. “We have yet to come together and say lives matter. Our children are being massacred.”
Just days before Chicago’s violence weekend, local activists marched on Lake Shore Drive to Wrigley Field. Organizers said the purpose of the march was to make white communities aware of the lack of investment and ongoing violence in Black neighborhoods.
“It’s a tale of two cities,” anti-violence activist the Rev. Gregory Livingston said. “One of the hardest things to do is inspire the uninspired. Sometimes you have to stick your neck out, have some skin in the game and get people to recognize that there are some people here that are trying to do something.”