Peter Nickeas and Elvia Malagon, Chicago Tribune, May 30, 2017
Shootings over the Memorial Day weekend left seven people dead and another 45 wounded in Chicago, a drop from last year, though almost half of this year’s victims were shot the last night of the weekend.
The violence this weekend was similar to three of the last five Memorial Day weekends: 53 gunshot victims in 2012, and 58 in 2015. A total of 34 people were shot in 2014, and 21 were shot in 2013.
Last year’s total was 71 and was the worst since at least 2012. It came during a year that saw almost 800 homicides and more than 4,000 people shot.
The most violent day of the weekend this year was Memorial Day, with 24 people shot, five of them fatally, including a 20-year-old disabled man at a park he visited every day.
The day started with three domestic-related gun deaths: a suspected murder-suicide in the Dearborn Homes neighborhood and a domestic-related killing in the North Austin neighborhood.
The violence continued with four multiple-victim shootings on the South and West sides, including a shooting that left a 17-year-old boy dead and two others wounded in the West Englewood neighborhood.
Another triple shooting occurred around the same time in the South Austin neighborhood to the northwest.
Before Monday, only 28 people had been shot over the previous three nights, a low total for any weekend in Chicago.
This year, 1,300 extra officers were deployed during the weekend on top of normal staffing levels, according to police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. Last year, there were about 880 extra officers working, he said.
The officers worked in areas where much of the city violence occurs. The Chicago Police Department parked a mobile command center on one of the city’s most widely known open-air heroin markets, at Roosevelt Road and Independence Boulevard, for the first two nights of the weekend.
The RV-size command van moved to an area near 63rd Street and King Drive after the second night. Nineteen of the 28 people shot the first three nights were wounded on the South Side, while the West Side saw just five shootings with a total of eight victims the first three nights.
One person over that period was wounded in a Northwest Side shooting, at Addison Street and Keeler Avenue.
The Cook County sheriff’s office parked its mobile command center on a block widely known as one of the city’s busiest marijuana spots — Madison Street and Leamington Avenue — where there have been close to a dozen shootings over the last 18 months.
It was common to see officers three or four to a car, or officers riding around in rented vans. Evidence techs also were moved into rental cars before the weekend. Many officers’ days off were canceled and hours extended.
As the weekend drew to a close Tuesday morning, someone in a passing car fired toward a group standing outside Mount Sinai Hospital, police said.
An evidence tech at the hospital alerted his dispatcher that a car was shooting as nearby officers called out the sound of gunfire near the hospital.
Six of the 24 people shot between Monday and Tuesday mornings had been taken to the West Side trauma center for treatment. No one had been taken into custody for those shootings.