More than 50 shot, 6 killed despite increased police presence this weekend

CHICAGO -- Even with hundreds of additional officers patrolling the city's most violent areas, Chicago recorded more than 50 shootings for the second weekend this month.

Dozens were shot and six people were killed this past weekend, including four teenagers. Speaking Monday, CPD Superintendent Johnson denounced what he called a "culture of guns," saying it's more dangerous for criminals to be caught without a gun than it is to be caught with one.

"There's a small subset of individuals who think they can play by their own rules," Supt. Johnson said. "They continue to get a slap on the wrist, despite legislation that we had passed last year for being a repeat gun offender and breaking the law."

Johnson blamed the legal system in part, saying "our judicial partners don't hold them accountable." He also said serious barriers like fear of retaliation and a distrust of police contribute to the problem by preventing police from getting the information they need.

"I'm a black man who's lived in Chicago his entire life. I know there's tension between the police department and the black community," Johnson said.

Experts have identified a complex set of factors driving Chicago's violence, including disparities in economics and education, easy access to guns, prevalence of gangs, lack of access to mental health care, institutional racism and an erosion of values.

Noting violent crime is declining in most of the city, Johnson said the worst of violence is largely confined to six neighborhoods on the South and West Sides of the city.

"This isn't a widespread issue among Chicagoans. It's the same people,” Johnson said.

For the past few weeks, about 600 additional officers have been deployed to areas with the most violence over the weekend. Among the strategies used by officers, Johnson said, was to shut down many large gatherings held without a permit that have been targeted in mass shootings this summer.

Police are also launching targeted enforcement missions, and relying on Strategic Decision Support Centers to respond to and predict episodes of gun violence. Johnson said over the weekend, 29 people were arrested on gun charges and 83 guns were seized.

Charges are pending against three people from shooting incidents over the weekend, including the case of two teen boys who were found shot to death in a field in the Golden Gate neighborhood.