The 4th of July weekend was particularly blood-ridden in Chicago, where 60 people were shot and nine of the shooting victims succumbed in the South Side area of the city starting with Thursday afternoon. Police reports confirm the news of violent activity in the South Side neighborhoods and state that at least eight of the residents shot were shot by police officers. Chicago police super Garry McCarthy confirms the fact that the local department had planned to supplement the number of police officers out on the streets of Chicago over this particular weekend by several hundred. McCarthy added that the plan unfurled accordingly on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; Sunday, however, was a particularly bloody day in Chicago’s South Side, full of shootings and murders.
Among the individuals shot by Chicago police over the weekend was a 16 year-old, who took off running when police approached him. The youth was hiding a weapon under his shirt – namely a .44 Magnum with an 8-inch barrel. Police described the weapon as a “Dirty Harry gun”, while the young man’s mother said police acted in a trigger-happy manner. Community activist Andrew Holmes, who attended the press conference that the Chicago police held on July 7, said that “there has to be some accountability” from the families of those involved in such situations. Holmes expressed his sincere condolences toward the family of the young man who was shot, but added that “sometimes the families have to turn around and think, hey, wait a minute, what was my son doing with this gun in the first place? Whose gun is it?”
In support of Holmes’ statement, as well as of the actions undertaken by his staff members, police superintendent McCarthy explained that Chicago is different from other major cities around the United States, in terms of the proliferation of illegal weapons. In this sense, Chicago is clearly neither New York, nor L.A. – and proof for this stand the 100 illegal guns confiscated by police over the weekend. McCarthy asked the local authorities to consider enforcing stricter gun control laws. He explicitly said that “there’s too many guns coming in and too little punishment going out”.
In spite of the bloody incidents and shoot-outs that took place over the 4th of July weekend, the rate of violent crimes that occur in Chicago is still on the decrease, at least according to NPR’s Cheryl Corley from All Things Considered. However, the recent violence has understandably cast a shadow over such encouraging facts.