With the national homicide rate hovering near historic lows, Chicago’s police chief on Monday decried a “despicable level of violence” over the weekend in which 52 people were shot, eight of them fatally, and two people were stabbed to death.
The nation’s third-largest city is one of few that has struggled with gun violence in recent years, but is still on track to drop its homicide count for the third year in a row. The weekend’s shootings happened during one of the city’s warmest so far this year, aligning with conditions the city tends to see an increase in violence.
Police responded to the incidents between 6 p.m. Friday until midnight Sunday by increasing the number of uniformed officers on the street, Superintendent Eddie Johnson said.
Targeting areas where police expected gang members to retaliate for previous shootings, Johnson said officers seized 92 illegal firearms, nearly twice as many as the department seizes in a typical warm-weather weekend. In the coming weeks, Chicago police said more patrol officers will be stationed in popular areas for tourists and residents.