A person was shot nearly every hour of the July 4 weekend in Chicago, including 14 who were killed by gun violence, a tally by the Chicago Tribune indicates.
In 84 hours, from 3:30 p.m. Thursday to 3:30 a.m. Monday, 82 people were shot in the city, the paper reported. Among the suspects is a man who had been arrested 21 times.
“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,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “The solution does not just include policing -- although we’ll continue to look for ways to put more police where they’re needed.”
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said weak state and federal gun laws are partially to blame for the surge in violence.
McCarthy said there's "a greater sanction for the gang members to lose that firearm from their gang than there is to go to jail" for having an illegal gun, CNN reported.
McCarthy told the Sun-Times hundreds of additional police officers were patrolling the streets during the weekend and the uptick in shootings was “unacceptable.”
“The results were a lot of shootings and a lot of murders,” he said.
Anti-violence activist Andrew Holmes said Fourth of July celebrations mean more people are out intoxicated or on drugs, which can lead to more violence.
“You have the gang-related shooting, then you have the shootings over drug money,” Holmes said. “Then you have people that may have too much alcohol, too much drugs [who] get into a fight. They’re taking it to an all-time high and they grab a weapon.”
The bloodiest hours were from 2:30 p.m. Sunday to 3:30 a.m. Monday when four people were killed and 26 were wounded in 13 hours, the Tribune said.
The city’s violent reputation was highlighted by the death of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old who performed at President Barack Obama’s inauguration last year and was shot to death just weeks after the ceremony. But the city has been making progress in reducing its crime rate since 2012, CBS News reported. While the number of murders stayed steady in the first four months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, the number of people shot decreased. The number of murders and shooting victims are both down when compared to 2012.