CHICAGO (CBS) – A dozen fatal shootings this Christmas weekend continued Chicago’s spike in violence this year.
CBS 2’s political reporter Derrick Blakely looked at the tally of gun violence and how police hope to get it under control.
Chicago’s holiday weekend homicides began just before 11 p.m. Christmas Eve in the 500 block of North Laramie. Two men, aged 20 and 21, both gang members, were gunned down. The weekend homicides ended with a mass shooting in East Chatham, just before 9:30 p.m. Christmas night, resulting in another two dead, and five injured.
“We had a reprehensible amount of shootings and murders,” said Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “Detectives are investigating 27 shooting incidents, 12 of which were fatal.”
Johnson said most of the shooters were gang members deliberately targeting rivals while they had their guard down, during Christmas celebrations.
“They were targeted knowing full well that individuals would be at the homes of family and friends celebrating the holiday,” Johnson said.
Johnson said more police are coming, as part of the city’s push to add 1,000 cops. But he is hoping for legal reinforcement as well. A new law proposed by state Senator Kwame Raoul, to stiffen penalties against repeat gun offenders.
“What we’re looking to do is give judges the autonomy to sentence repeat gun offenders to the upper end of the gun sentencing range,” Johnson said. “And if they do not give us written explanation why.”
And like Johnson, gun violence activist Andrew Holmes appealed for greater community cooperation with police.
“Until the community steps up and police their own block, their own community and their own city, we have to put a stop to this and start turning these individuals in,” Holmes said.
Johnson also said 90 percent of those killed this weekend were either gang members, had criminal background or were on the department’s so-call ‘heat list,’ which means they had been identified as potential offenders or victims of gun violence.