CHICAGO — Chicago police said at least 52 people were shot, eight fatally, during the most violent weekend of the year.
Police are questioning several people of interest in some of the incidents, but no one has been arrested yet. Most of the violence was gang-related, police said, fueled by drugs and petty fights.
"Chicago comes to life in the summer with festivals, barbecues, and family activities in the park," said Deputy Chief Elgin Holt. "Unfortunately, many of the South Side districts have been plagued with violence related to guns, gangs, and drugs for too long. And this weekend brought with it more of the same."
In one of the latest shootings, a 58-year-old man was shot in the Marshall Square neighborhood during a drive-by around 9:50 p.m. Sunday. In Old Town near North Avenue and Sedgwick Street, two men were found dead after someone shot into their car, making them crash into a bike rack as they lost consciousness early Sunday.
“Unfortunately, over the past 72 hours in Chicago we saw a despicable level of violence,” Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Monday.
Johnson's job is on the line as Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she will evaluate the city's recent gun violence before deciding whether or not to replace him. Lightfoot and Johnson met Monday to discuss the violence.
“We’re going to have these meetings regularly so we can take account of what’s happening,” Lightfoot said.
Even after Johnson and CPD commanders put extra patrols in areas where retaliations were suspected after gang-related incidents Friday, dozens were injured Saturday night.
In Austin, four people were shot about 9:45 p.m. Saturday while standing in a parking lot in the 5600 block of West Madison Street. In the Fuller Park neighborhood, Denise Weekly, a 26-year-old mother of two, was fatally shot at a party. The scene near 49th Street and Princeton Avenue was covered in shell casings.
Violence on the West Side spilled into downtown, as Johnson said individuals were "targeted" in multiple shootings. Across the street from Northwestern’s law school, four people were shot during an illegal party in Lake Shore Park overnight Saturday.
“The only thing you can never measure is the amount of crime we prevent,” Johnson said.
After a violent weekend, Chicago police are asking for increased community cooperation, saying they can’t stop the violence by themselves. Many commanders haven’t had a day off since Memorial Day.
Police said they seized 92 guns and made 19 gun-related arrests over the weekend, but fear too many are already back out on the streets.
"We know who a lot of these people are," said Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. "And how do we know that? Because we keep arresting them over and over and over again. And it's just a vicious cycle and until we hold violent offenders accountable the way that they should be, we are going to continue to see this."
In response to criticism saying offenders were returned to the streets too quickly, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office said in a statement:
After the violent weekend, the The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office remains committed to ensuring public safety and does not recommend or agree to I Bonds in cases involving gun offenses or in crimes of violence. In gun cases where a monetary bond is set, prosecutors ask for additional special conditions to secure appearance in court and public safety. Since January 2019, 72% of gun related cases referred to us by the Chicago Police Department have received a D bond (monetary bail) or No Bond.
Statistics released by police show crime has dropped nine percent in the city through May.
In addition to 52 people shot and eight killed from Friday night to Monday morning in Chicago, another two people were stabbed to death in domestic incidents.