Extra police officers on Chicago's streets were not enough to quell a long weekend of violence that ended with 14 people killed by gunfire and dozens more injured.
During a news conference on Monday, hours after two more people had been shot dead, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said his department's best efforts could not prevent the bloodshed that spiked dramatically on Sunday. Chicago's total of 53 shooting incidents for the July 4 holiday weekend easily eclipsed Detroit and New York combined, which had a total of 46 shooting incidents, 10 of which were fatal.
"Going into the holiday weekend we had a plan, including putting hundreds more officers on the streets and what were the results?" McCarthy asked. "The results were a lot of shootings, a lot of murders, unfortunately."
The shootings over the holiday weekend included eight incidents that involved police, according to McCarthy. In five of those instances, officers shot at suspects. Two people - both 16 - were killed in those shoot-outs. McCarthy said that based on preliminary investigations, all of the officer-involved shootings appear to have been justified, including one in which officers fired after a suspect tried to run them over with his car.
Even with the weekend shootings, Chicago police are on pace with last year for shootings involving officers, with 33 so far this year, compared with 35 at the same time last year, according to McCarthy.
The tally of shooting deaths for the holiday weekend came from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, from Thursday to Sunday. The number of shooting incidents came from Chicago police and was for Thursday evening to Sunday.
McCarthy said his officers were seeing more suspects who are reluctant to throw down their guns when confronted by police because they're more concerned with harsh treatment from their gangs if they lose their weapons than from the legal system if they are arrested with them.
"Possession of a loaded firearm is not even considered a violent felony in the state of Illinois for sentencing purposes," McCarthy said, noting that gangs may severely beat a member who loses a gun.