Fifty-two people were shot and 10 people were killed in what police called a "despicable" spate of violence over the weekend in Chicago. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the latestin the city shows "the challenges we face are complex and profound."
"I know I can speak for everyone at CPD when I say we take these shootings seriously, and there's a heightened sense of urgency and care when it comes to gun violence in this city," Johnson said during a Monday press conference.
CBS Chicago reports it was the most violent weekend of 2019. The bloodshed comes on the heels of another deadly weekend during the Memorial Day holiday last week, when in a spate of shootings. Violence tends to increase during warm summer months, according to police.
Johnson said many of the victims shot over the weekend were targeted by gangs. He said police noted an uptick in gang-related shootings on Friday, and in response, increased patrols in areas where investigators expected possible retaliation. Deputy chief Al Nagode, who oversees the city's west side where some of the gang violence originated, said shootings there were "not random" and motivated by disputes and tensions over an open-air drug market.
"I can tell you, weekends like this, all our officers take this very personal," Nagode said. "We faced formidable challenges with gang factions settling conflicts with gun violence."
Johnson said 92 guns were taken off the streets and 18 people were arrested on gun-related charges. He couldn't immediately provide a number of arrests directly related to the shootings. Several persons of interest were being questioned, reports CBS Chicago.
The 10 weekend homicides included two deadly stabbings, reports CBS Chicago. Two of the murders were domestic-related and police have released suspect lookout information, Johnson said. He said investigators had "very good leads" on some of the other homicides and expected to make arrests soon.
Though murders in Chicago have declined since reaching a 19-year high at 777 in 2016, the 561 killings in the city in 2018 continued to outnumber murders in New York and Los Angeles combined.
Police statistics show shootings over the first five months of 2019 are down 13 percent compared to the same period last year, reports CBS Chicago, and overall crime is down 9 percent year-to-date.
The police department's summer crime plan, a seasonal effort to reduce violence, includes sending special teams to patrol CTA trains and stations, bike officers monitoring high-traffic areas, and the summer mobile team, a group deployed during large events, the station reports.
New Chicago mayorwho has pledged to work to increase public safety, is expected to meet with Johnson on Monday, the station reports.