Chicago’s Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is sourcing intense gang violence behind the city’s deadly holiday weekend and what lawmakers can do to stop it.
CNN reports Johnson spoke to reporters about the city’s violent weekend during a news conference on Monday (Dec. 26). Currently, investigators are looking into 27 shootings that took place on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, with 12 of them turning fatal. Johnson believes a majority of the shootings were between rival gang members. “These were deliberate and planned shootings by one gang against another,” Johnson said. “They were targeted knowing fully well that individuals would be at the homes of family and friends celebrating the holidays. This was followed by several acts of retaliation.”
Taking place on the South and West sides of Chicago, homicides have risen from 478 in 2015 to 753 in the January 1 to December 25 time frame. Two brothers, James and Roy Gil from the Chatham neighborhood died on Sunday (Dec 25) while partying with friends on a porch. The victims, aged 18 and 21 years old were students at Malcolm X College. The same day, 25-year-old Jamil Farley was found dead with gunshot wounds to the back, leg and head. Several other victims (young black males) were killed during drive-bys. Johnson is hoping stricter gun laws on repeat offenders will reduce crime in the city.
“These gun offenders have repeatedly shown us that they’re not going to play by society’s rules,” Johnson said. He also suggested the perceived distrust of police officers is fueling the intent to commit the shootings. “When they feel the public will speak out for them and not the police officers, that’s giving them the power to go out and do what they did.”
So far, 45 guns were seized over the weekend. Two non-fatal shootings rounded out the weekend on Monday. A 26-year-old woman was shot in her hand as she sat in her car. Police believe the shooting may have been domestic- related. The other was a 31-year-old man who was shot in the buttocks.
The city saw the highest case of homicides in August with 96 victims.