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Three killed, 20 shot overnight in Chicago

Three killed, 20 shot overnight in Chicago
Three people were killed and 20 wounded in shootings that occurred overnight throughout Chicago, just a few hours after the city announced a 42 percent decrease in this year’s murder rate compared to the first four months of 2012.

“I heard gunshots, looked out my window, and saw my son laying on the ground. I ran out and held him,” Lelia Rodgers, a mother of one of the deceased shooting victims, told DNAinfo. “I kept asking him to talk, saying, ‘I’m right here.’ He took three breaths, and that was it.”

The woman’s son, 27-year-old Darrin Rodgers, was one of three victims to die from his gunshot wounds in the early morning hours of May 1. He was shot in the chest at 12:10 a.m., just a few steps away from his mother’s apartment.

Two other men were killed in the overnight shootings and 20 others wounded, including two 16-year-old high school students. A 30-year-old man was found dead in a Chicago alleyway, while a 23-year-old was found in a separate alley, his face and body riddled with bullets.

Two men in their 40’s were found wounded on a street corner when the shootings began around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday. Bodies of the dead and the injured were dispersed throughout city, marking a bloody evening that began as Chicago police were hailing a reduction in crime.

The Chicago Police Department had released figures indicating a 42 percent decline in the number of murders that occurred in the city this year, compared to the same period in 2012. During the first quarter, Chicago was home to 93 murders – which is the first time since 1963 that the city had fewer than 100 murders during the period.

During the first quarter of 2012, there were 161 murders. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy on Tuesday credited authorities with the reduction in crime, citing a “comprehensive policing strategy and the hard work of our officers.”

Many of Chicago’s police officers have been moved from their administrative desk jobs to patrol the streets instead. The department recently changed their operations to focus less on 911 calls and more on patrolling neighborhoods. Theft and burglaries at which a criminal suspect is no longer on the scene are considered low priority cases.

The new response plan angered some Chicago residents, who argued that the taxes they pay for police services should be used to help them when they call 911.

But police who hailed a reduction in crime and attributed it to their efforts may have spoken too soon. While the overnight shootings will not affect Chicago’s first-quarter murder rate, they will likely impact the crime statistics for the second quarter and the entire year.

“You have to look at what you’re comparing [the murder rate] to,” former Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis told ABC News. “If you are comparing this year’s number to an anomaly, there is a 10-percent decline from the 2011 homicide figures, when the murder rate was the lowest since 1965. The decline is not as dramatic as it seems. Spikes like what happened yesterday are inevitable as the seasons change and more people get outdoors.”

In an interview with NBC, McCarthy said the Chicago Police Department will still need to “examine what happened” at the turn of the month, and acknowledged that the city will have “good days and bad days”.