Twelve people have been killed and more than 90 others wounded in shootings across Chicago since noon Friday, marking a bloody holiday weekend that surpassed last year’s violence, according to police.
Officer Jose Estrada, spokesman for the police department, said he could not verify but would not dispute reports by The Chicago Tribune and other local media that at least 101 people were shot between 3 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Estrada said it was hard to describe the weekend as a particularly difficult one for police.
“Any time you have people shot and killed, it’s difficult,” he said. “I can’t say this weekend was more difficult than any other. And it’s a little unfair — does five days count as a weekend?”
The number of shootings, which police said surged during a six-hour period on Monday night, was higher than in 2013, the last time the 4th of July weekend spanned four days, when 74 people were shot, according to the Tribune.
The weekend brought the total number of people shot in Chicago this year above 1,800, which is lower than the 2,035 recorded at this time last year when violence spiked sharply, the Tribune reported.
The violence came less than a week after President Donald Trump tweeted that gun crime in Chicago had reached “epidemic proportions” and that he would be “sending in Federal help.”
Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help. 1714 shootings in Chicago this year!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 30, 2017
The vast majority of the 762 murders and more than 4,000 shooting incidents in Chicago last year occurred in a few predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods on the city’s West and South Sides, and were driven by gang-related feuds and drug wars.
The Trump administration announced Friday it was dispatching an additional 20 ATF agents to the city to stem gun violence that has left more than 1,000 dead over the past 18 months. The Justice Department and the city also announced the formation of a joint strike force of federal and local law enforcement officials to ramp up prosecution of gun-related crimes.
“The Trump Administration will not let the bloodshed go on; we cannot accept these levels of violence,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.