EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — Evanston has seen three murders in just the past week, after not seeing a killing since the beginning of the year.

The latest fatal shooting happened on Sunday.

As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported, gunmen struck in the darkness of the early morning in the first two shootings. The one on Sunday happened most brazenly in the middle of the afternoon.

Police in Evanston said there was a common thread as they investigated.

Family embraced each other hours after tragedy struck. Meanwhile, evidence markers sat in a home driveway in the 1900 block of Hartrey Avenue, near Foster Street, on Evanston’s west side.

Evanston police said someone shot a man at the site around 3 p.m. and he was later pronounced dead at an area hospital. He was 29 years old.

“He would have been 30 tomorrow,” said Evanston Police Chief Demetrius Cook. “The last week here has been abnormal.”

Another man was shot and killed at a home steps away early Saturday morning.

Around 12:15 a.m. Saturday, Evanston police responded to a 911 call reporting a shooting at a home on the 2200 block of Emerson Street.

Police said Deshawn Turner, 21, died at NorthShore Unviersity HealthSystem Evanston Hospital after suffering from gunshot wounds to the arm and chest.

And then last Thursday there was a similar fate for a Glenview man on the Evanston side of Howard Street near the Chicago Transit Authority’s Howard Red Line terminal.

Police said the man – Brian Carrion, 20, of Glenview, died from gunshot wounds as he lay in the 300 block of Howard Street after 1 a.m. A second victim – a 21-year-old Evanston man – was treated and released from AMITA Health St. Francis Hospital in Evanston after suffering a graze wound to the head.

A second victim, 21 year old male Evanston resident, suffered a graze wound to the head. He was transported to St. Francis Hospital where he was treated and released.

That makes three murders in a week’s time for the city of Evanston.

“We had went the whole year without a homicide up until last Thursday,” Cook said.

Cook attributed the uptick in violence to what he calls a sign of the times, as cities nationwide – like Chicago – see a spike in violence amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s ongoing gang rivalries,” Cook said. “That’s what we believe is spawning all of this violence – all three of them.”

On Sunday night, police were assuring the community they were working toward restoring peace.

“I want the citizens of Evanston to rest assured that we’re putting our manpower out to do the best job we can and make sure that this violence stops,” Cook said.

We asked Sunday night about suspects or arrests in the three shootings. The chief was not ready to give details, but we know in one shooting, police did have a description of an assailant.