CHICAGO Gunfire flared in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend, leaving more than half a dozen people dead and at least 60 wounded.

The violence began around 2 a.m. last Friday when five people were shot, two fatally, in the South Loop. Chicago police Superintendent David Brown addressed another Friday shooting incident that saw a CPD officer shot near the West Side.

“We also witnessed the dangers of police work over the long weekend as officers were met with violence while they worked to keep the city safe,” Brown said. “We saw it on Friday when an officer was wounded in the line of duty answering a domestic call. A University of Illinois Chicago officer near the scene didn’t hesitate, running toward danger, to assist in helping rush our wounded officer to the hospital, likely saving his life.”

Despite high-profile shooting incidents, Brown said the level of violence seen during the first four days of July is down from last year.

“Shootings were down 14%, shootings victims were down 21% and the number of homicides decreased 53%,” Brown said.

From Friday, July 1 through Monday, July 4, police responded to a total of 51 shooting incidents. Sixty-eight people were hurt and eight people were killed.

“Chicago police department continues to be committed to enhancing public safety through visibility and engagement and collaboration with all of our law enforcement partners, stakeholders, states attorney office and our US attorney,” Brown added.

The city police superintendent blamed many of the city’s shootings on those who resort to guns to solve problems, saying that his department has been proactive in removing more than 6,000 firearms off of the streets.

“Each gun recovered, no matter how it’s recovered, is a potential life saved,” Brown said. “We can never lose sight that this work comes at a very high price for our officers and their families every day.”