CHICAGO - Seven people were killed, a man was critically wounded in a police-involved shooting and 37 others were shot across Chicago this weekend, marking the city’s most devastating toll so far this year as temperatures rose ahead of the typically violent summer months.
Just last week, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown touted encouraging drops in homicides and shootings as the department pushes to tamp down the surging violent crime that has become a serious political liability for Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
In January, just days after Chicago closed the books on its deadliest year in a quarter-century, Lightfoot declared 2022 a "make-or-break year" for doing just that. This weekend, however, proved to be the year’s first major stumbling block.
Shootings stretched across the city — between 5 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday — and spiked Saturday into early Sunday as temperatures rose.
The weekend’s worst shooting happened Saturday evening in Englewood, leaving two men dead and two others wounded.
About 7:30 p.m., a group of people were standing in the 1900 block of West Garfield Boulevard when someone opened fire from a vehicle, police said. Two men, 42 and 48, were each struck multiple times and pronounced dead at the University of Chicago Medical Center and Mount Sinai Hospital, respectively.
A 24-year-old man was shot in the back and arm and taken in serious condition to University of Chicago, police said. A 65-year-old man was hit in the back and legs and treated at Mount Sinai.
Hours later, a man was shot and critically wounded following an altercation Saturday night in River North.
The man, believed to be in his 20s, confronted the gunman around 10 p.m. in the 100 block of West Hubbard Street when he was shot multiple times, police said. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition.
Over a day earlier, Chicago police shot an armed man in Pullman, according to a department spokesman.
Officers initially responded about 5:40 p.m. Friday to a call of a man with a gun in the 11200 block of South Langley Avenue, police said. When he allegedly aimed at them, at least one officer shot him.
It’s unclear whether more than one officer fired shots. Details of the man’s injuries weren’t made available, but he was taken in critical condition to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
Also among the wounded was a 16-year-old boy who was shot in the 2400 block of West 25th Street in Pilsen around 7:25 p.m. Saturday, police said. He was taken to a hospital in good condition.
A 17-year-old girl was also found wounded by gunfire at the 3600 block of West Douglas Boulevard around 1:10 a.m early Sunday morning, police said. She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where she was in good condition.
There hasn’t been a weekend without a deadly shooting in Chicago since January, according to data from the Sun-Times.
A rise in temperatures typically coincides with a rise in violence in Chicago. For example, one of last year’s most violent weekends took place over the Fourth of July holiday, leaving 19 dead and 85 more hurt.
Through April 17, the most recent city data, there had been 622 shootings and 157 murders across Chicago. That marked a 15% decrease in shooting incidents and a 10% drop in homicides from last year, although those numbers were both up compared to the three previous years.
During a news conference last week, Supt. Brown detailed a new deployment strategy that focuses on 55 police beats that he said account for half the city’s violence. The new emphasis on "beat integrity" and community-based policing marked a major departure for Brown, who initially built up citywide teams when he was tapped by Lightfoot as top cop.
He said the new strategy relies on coordination with other city agencies and efforts to bolster social services and build up neighborhood block clubs.
"We really are, in my opinion, collaborating as we move into the warmer months to really continue our momentum in reducing crime," he said.