Seventy-three people were shot in Chicago over a violence-filled weekend, with at least 11 people killed, and victims of gunshot wounds ranging from 11 years old to 62.
At least 40 people were shot in one seven-hour stretch between Saturday night and Sunday morning, with four killed.
City spokesman Dan Regan told the Chicago Tribune that the violence was so bad at one point that the emergency department at Mount Sinai Hospital stopped accepting new victims.
The city’s South and West Sides, which have seen astronomical rates of gun violence in recent years, experienced the brunt of the bloodshed, which came during a sweltering summer weekend. Targets included a block party and a gathering after a funeral. Bureau of Patrol Chief Fred Waller said that most of the shootings were gang-related.
Gun violence has surged in Chicago in the last few years: 2016 was the deadliest in the city in 20 years, with 762 people killed. This year, the rate of gun killings has been decreasing; the Tribune reports that as of August 1, there were 1,700 fewer shootings in the city than in 2017.
Still, Chicago has recorded more than 300 murders this year, the most of any American city — though it trails several other cities in per capita terms. Chicago’s murder rate far outpaces New York City’s, whose population is about three times as large. New York recorded fewer than 300 murders in all of last year.
For many right-wingers, Chicago has become a symbol of Democratic hypocrisy on gun reform, since the city is run by a Democratic mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and is home to a famous liberal party machine. (Many of the guns used in Chicago shootings are taken over the border from neighboring states, where lax firearm laws stand in contrast to Chicago’s strict rules.) Last January, President Trump threatened to send in the National Guard to quell the violence, before sending in more traditional forms of federal help later in the year.
But it’s not just conservatives who are outraged. Just four days ago, a group of activists shut down Lake Shore Drive, one of Chicago’s main thoroughfares, to protest the economic and racial inequality of gun violence — the city’s ritzier, whiter neighborhoods rarely see murders — and call for Emanuel’s resignation.