Peter Nickeas, Elvia Malagon and Elyssa Cherney, Chicago Tribune, July 5, 2017
Dozens of people were struck by gunfire in Chicago, some of them fatally, during the traditionally violent Fourth of July weekend, mostly in parts of the South and West sides that have long been plagued by gang crime and gun violence.
From Friday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon, about 60 people were shot with eight of them killed, according to data kept by the Tribune.
The toll comes as the Chicago Police Department added roughly 1,300 police officers to work each day since Friday to patrol the violent neighborhoods, the parks, the CTA transit system and the lakefront, where large crowds formed to celebrate the holiday and watch fireworks.
This year’s shooting toll was similar to recent Fourth of July weekends, though direct comparisons are difficult because the holiday fell on a Tuesday this year. The shootings this year occurred in communities long beset by violence such as Roseland, Greater Grand Crossing and Back of the Yards on the South Side and East Garfield Park, Austin and North Lawndale on the West Side.
Shootings still persisted in two of the city’s traditionally most violent police districts, Englewood and Harrison. This is despite a new crime-fighting initiative in those districts that includes technology designed to better detect where gunshots are coming from and enable officers to respond more quickly to gunfire.
In addition to the gun violence, Chicago police on Tuesday announced the arrests of 58 people across the city on gun and drug charges.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said several guns were seized as well as 1,200 grams of cannabis and 500 grams of heroin and crack cocaine.
The city just finished its first half of 2017 with 323 homicides — one more than the same period in 2016 — putting Chicago on pace to reach the 700-homicide mark for the second consecutive year, official Police Department statistics show.