11 dead in Chicago holiday weekend carnage
Another holiday weekend has turned deadly in Chicago, with 58 people being shot and 11 killed in the city’s latest sustained outbreak of gun violence. The victims included two toddlers who were injured when firearms went off in their homes.
The shootings all occurred between 6 p.m. on Friday and 11:59 p.m. on Monday, and the victims ranged in age from two years old to 77, according to city police. The mayhem reportedly marked Chicago’s deadliest Memorial Day weekend in eight years and came on the first holiday since Mayor Brandon Johnson took office earlier this month.
The violence was not limited to shootings. A woman was found stabbed to death early Saturday morning in an alley less than two blocks from Johnson’s home in the city’s Austin neighborhood. A 36-year-old man was shot and wounded about five blocks from the mayor’s home on Monday evening. Both of the shootings involving two-year-olds occurred on Sunday evening.
Many of the victims, including 34-year-old William Hair, were merely standing on a sidewalk when their assailants drove up and shot them. “Three blocks from his home, a car pulled up,” Matthew Hair, the man’s brother, told Chicago’s NBC News affiliate. “There were two gunshots, one from each person. They did not ask for money. They did not ask for anything. They shot at him for no reason.”
No suspects have been arrested. Shootings across the US left at least 16 dead and dozens injured over the holiday weekend. Nine people were wounded when an altercation between two groups in Hollywood, Florida, erupted into gunfire along a crowded beach boardwalk on Monday evening.
Holiday weekends in Chicago are often plagued by gun violence. For instance, over 100 people were shot, 18 fatally, during 69 separate incidents on the July 4 weekend in 2021. Last year’s Memorial Day weekend left nine shooting victims dead and 42 injured in the city.
Johnson, a former teacher and union organizer, once called for redirecting money “from the failed and racist systems of policing, criminalization and incarceration.” However, even as he has advocated a more “holistic” approach to public safety, he has not sought to defund the police. In fact, he plans to hire 200 additional detectives to help solve more crimes.
The new mayor announced a safety plan last week to prevent violence over the holiday weekend. His strategy included canceling days off for police to boost staffing and employing dozens of yellow-vested “peacekeepers” to patrol the streets. Police ordered bag checks at local beaches.
Asked about the shootings, Johnson reportedly suggested that socioeconomic factors were to blame: “Poverty didn’t go away over the weekend. Like we understand that when communities have been disinvested in and traumatized, you are going to see the manifestation of that trauma.”