Chicago, IL - At least 43 were people were shot and five people were killed over the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, despite the fact there were severe thunderstorms and more than 1,000 extra officers on the streets.
Newly-elected Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the urban warzone “just an unacceptable state of affairs” when she met with reporters after a memorial ceremony on Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Chicago has a reputation for rampant shootings during holiday weekends.
In 2018, the Windy City had its best Memorial Day in recent years with only 39 people shot and seven people killed.
Forty-five people were shot and seven people were killed over the same period in 2017, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The record for the most violent three-day Memorial Day weekend in Chicago in this century is attributed to 2016, the year when 71 people were shot, including six fatalities.
The new mayor and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced ahead of the holiday weekend that they would be “flooding the zone” with an additional 1,200 uniformed police officers, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Police also ran a number of drug raids throughout the city in the days leading up to the weekend.
The three-day holiday weekend was seen as an early test for Lightfoot and her new administration.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the Memorial Day weekend has historically been the start of an increase in street violence that continues throughout the summer in the city.
Lightfoot rode with officers who were patrolling the city on Saturday night and responded to a shooting on the South Side.
A former federal prosecutor, the mayor had made the city’s shootings a major part of her election campaign.
“I now get an alert every time there’s a shooting and I look at these things and I just think, ‘Dear God,’” the mayor said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “This isn’t news to me. I know shootings happen. I know they’re happening at a volume that is unacceptable but when you see my inbox, I go away for half an hour and I come back and it’s just flooded with emails. We have to start talking about not accepting this behavior as something that is just business as usual.”
She said the alerts in her mailbox were a reality check to the scope of the problem.
“I certainly knew that before, but to see it graphically depicted is quite shocking and says that we’ve got a long way to go as a city,” Lightfoot said. “This is not a law enforcement-only challenge. It’s a challenge for all of us in city government. It’s a challenge for us in communities to dig down deeper and ask ourselves what we can do to step up to stem the violence.”
The city administration recruited dozens of religious leaders to walk the streets to encourage citizens to participate in more than 100 community events and youth programs taking place during the holiday weekend, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Despite best efforts by city leaders to flood troubled areas of the city with resources, citizens reported hearing gunfire all weekend.
On Sunday, eight people were wounded at two shooting scenes on the same block on the Near West Side just five hours apart, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Police believe the five shootings later in the day were related to three that happened earlier in the day.
“You can’t enjoy yourself outside,” said Linda Kelly, a resident of the Auburn Gresham community. “All the shooting … you can’t even enjoy yourself.”
Kelly’s sons were 16 and 20 years old in 2016 when they were gunned down in her neighborhood less than two months apart, the Chicago Tribune reported.