After a bloody August saw homicides climb to a 20-year high, a deadly Labor Day weekend sent Chicago’s 2016 homicides soaring past 500, surpassing total murders for 2015 with four months still left in the year.
In all, 65 people were shot during the holiday weekend, 31 of them between 6 a.m. Monday and 3 a.m. Tuesday, The Chicago Tribune reported. The 13 killed brought the city’s skyrocketing homicide total to 512 – already well past the 491 logged in 2015.
"It is a complex problem with multidimensional facets to it," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Friday of Chicago's homicide rate. "It's not just about more police, but it will include that. But it's also about more resources for our children, more resources for our neighborhoods and stiffer laws that reflect the values of our city."
The scores of dead and wounded in the early days of September follow 90 homicides in August, tied for Chicago’s deadliest month since June 1996.
Nearly 3,000 people have been shot this year, according to data analyzed by The Tribune. That includes several deadly celebratory periods in 2016: 69 shot (six dead) during Memorial Day weekend and 66 shot (five dead) during the Fourth of July weekend.
Police attribute the spike in gun crime during the tail end of the Labor Day weekend to retaliatory gang acts, the Tribune reported.
In contrast, New York and Los Angeles had 409 homicides combined through late August.
While gang violence is largely responsible for Chicago’s burgeoning body count, it’s not the sole cause.
In one of the more odd examples of the city’s conflicts, an elderly, ex-preacher who uses a wheelchair was accused of shooting and killing a fellow retiree on Monday morning.