Three major US cities rocked by weekend gun violence as cops brace for 4th of July
(NEW YORK) — Within 2 and 1/2 hours on Sunday, two people were killed and 17 were wounded in a pair of mass shootings in Chicago. A rash of shootings in Philadelphia since Friday left two people dead and 19 injured.
And in New York City’s Times Square, a tourist was hurt when he was hit by an errant bullet after a fight allegedly erupted between street vendors.
As police investigated the incidents of gun violence that broke out over the weekend in major cities across the nation, law enforcement officials are bracing for more violence during the Fourth of July holiday.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed frustration on Monday over having to address another weekend of rampant shootings in her city despite police boosting patrols and taking more than 5,600 guns off the streets in the first six months of this year.
“What’s also frustrating and heartbreaking is that for some in our community, their thirst for revenge has no sense of decency,” Lightfoot said. “They don’t want to let the criminal justice system play itself out. They want to get street justice, which is tragic and terrible.”
She said the two mass shootings that occurred on the South Side of Chicago on Sunday night appear to be gang related.
The first mass shooting happened at 8:45 p.m. in the city’s Jackson Park Highland District, according to the Chicago Police Department. A group of people was standing on the street when an SUV drove by and someone inside starting shooting.
Six people were shot in the episode, including a woman who suffered six gunshot wounds and died at the University of Chicago Medical Center, according to police. A 15-year-old boy was also shot twice, but is expected to recover, authorities said.
Around 11 p.m. Sunday, gunshots rang out in the Marquette Park neighborhood of Chicago when three gunmen walked up to a group of people gathered in an alley and opened fire, police said.
Six men and five women were shot, police said. One of the injured women has died, police said
No arrests have been made in either shooting.
Police said the back-to-back mass shootings came on a particularly violent weekend for Chicago. A total of 74 people were shot in Chicago, six fatally, between Friday and 11:59 p.m. Sunday, ABC station WLS-TV in Chicago reported.
Chicago minister Donovan Price, founder of the victim advocacy group Solutions and Resources/Street Pastors, described going to the scene of one of Sunday’s mass shootings and finding “just another night of mayhem” in Chicago. He said there were “hundreds of people looking around, onlookers, family members, people who are injured.”
“It shouldn’t be like this, but, unfortunately, it looks like this may be our summer, definitely going to be our Fourth of July,” Price said.
Shootings in Chicago this year are up 15% compared to the same period in 2020, according to police department crime statistics released on June 21. Homicides are also up 4% from 296 in the first six months of 2020 to 307 in the same time span this year, according to the statistics.
Tourist caught in crossfire in Times Square
Nowhere was the pressure on to curb the epidemic of shootings more than in New York City’s so-called Crossroads of the World, where four innocent bystanders, including a 4-year-old girl, have been caught in the crossfire in shooting incidents in back-to-back months.
The latest shooting in Times Square happened around 5:20 p.m. on Sunday when a dispute flared up between street vendors hawking CDs and one of them pulled a gun and fired multiple times, said NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison. A stray bullet hit 21-year-old Sam Poulin of upstate New York, a Marine who was visiting the city for a family baptism, officials said.
Harrison said a police officer was right around the corner from where the shooting occurred and heard the gunfire.
“We’ve had another shooting in Times Square, which is absolutely unacceptable and we will not tolerate,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his daily press briefing Monday. “This is a place that is so precious and so important to our city. It has to be safe.”
Poulin was treated at a hospital for a non-life-threatening bullet wound. No arrests have been made, but police released security video of the man suspected of committing the shooting.
Harrison said the NYPD has beefed up patrols in the already heavily patrolled Times Square area.
Shooting incidents in New York City are up 42.7% in the first half of the year compared to 2020, according to NYPD crime statistics through Sunday. Homicides in New York City have also risen 12.2% this year compared to the same period in 2020.
The Times Square shooting came just two days after five people were shot and wounded, including three teenagers, at a graduation party in the city’s Bronx borough.
Police in Philadelphia said at least 20 people were shot, two fatally, over the weekend in multiple incidents across the city between Friday and 11:59 a.m. Sunday.
One of the shootings occurred around 11 p.m. Sunday after police broke up a large party in the Cecil B. Moore neighborhood of north Philadelphia, according to police. Dozens of officers were breaking up the party when gunfire erupted as party-goers were walking in the street, police said.
A man believed to be in his late teens or early 20s was shot twice. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition, police said.
In a separate incident, an 18-year-old man was shot to death around 1:17 a.m. Sunday in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia, police said.
A 24-year-old man was fatally shot in the neck around 8:15 p.m. on Saturday in the Wharton neighborhood of Philadelphia, police said.
No arrests have been made in any of the weekend shootings.
“It’s flat out disgusting,” Rev. Carl Day, the pastor of the Culture Changing Christians Worship Center in north Philadelphia, told ABC station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia. “We’ve reached a level where we got to get really back to the origins of the community. We need community accountability, culture accountability.”
Day said that he suspects a lot of the perpetrators of the gun violence are “broken people making broken decisions.”
Shooting incidents in Philadelphia are up 47.5% this year compared to last year, and the number of people shot has risen 50%, according to police crime statistics. Homicides in Philadelphia are up 25.6%.
“Quite frankly, it’s just not an easy fix,” he said of the rash of shootings. “You’ve got to really build relationships with these guys and transform how they think.”
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