Chicago hits 600 homicides as man, 25, is shot in the head

A 25-year-old man, who was shot multiple times in the head, reportedly became Chicago's 600th homicide, solidifying the Illinois city's place as the murder capital of America.

Two other men were injured by the shooter, who opened fire from a vehicle located on the 500 block of South Lockwood in the West Side Austin neighborhood, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner's office.

Neither man suffered fatal injuries and both were stabilized at Stronger Hospital, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The victims, whose names have not been released, were among five people who were shot in the South and West Sides of Chicago within just seven hours on Tuesday.

Chicago police officer investigate a crime scene of a gunshot victim in Chicago, Illinois, United States, July 5, 2015. Extra police patrols and long shifts were not enough to prevent nine deaths and about 50 injuries from gun violence in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend, when homicides jump almost every year. Chicago, with 2.7 million people, is the most violent large city in the United States, with poverty, segregation, dozens of small street gangs, and a pervasive gun culture all contributing to the problem. Picture taken July 5, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young     - RTX1JA21

Police arrive at a crime scene in Chicago.  (Reuters)

With 600 homicides in 2017 already, Chicago remains the murder capital of America, according to data from the Chicago Sun-Times, though the homicide rate is down from 2016, when 762 people were killed.

By the end of October, the Chicago Police Department had already recorded 2,445 shootings.

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The majority of shootings occur in the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods, where violent gangs spray bullets to solve petty disputes, former gang members said.

“People are arguing on Facebook over the color of some girl’s hair, real simple things...and they carry guns and when they finally catch each other, that’s how it be,” Derrick House, a 51-year-old former gang member-turned activist, said. “When they see the person they looking for, they don’t care who else is out there, old people and kids, they just start shooting.”

The majority of victims are African-American men, with nearly 50 percent in their teens and twenties.

July 5, 2015: A Chicago police officer collects evidence at a crime scene where a man was shot in the city.

Police mark a crime scene in Chicago, Ill.  (Reuters)

Bystanders are also caught in the crossfires of the gang-related shootings, which typically occur in the most dangerous neighborhoods of Chicago.

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With the current murder rate the highest it’s been in 17 years, President Trump announced a program in June to deploy federal agents to combat the violence.

“Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help,” Trump tweeted 

The Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force announced in June a plan to enact a team of 20 ATF agents and 20 Chicago Police officers to curb the violence, the New York Times reported. Federal authorities described the unit as “the first of its kind in the U.S.”

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2015, file photo, Chicago police officers line up outside the District 1 central headquarters in Chicago, during a protest for the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Special prosecutor Patricia Brown-Holmes announced Tuesday, June 27, 2017, that three Chicago police officers were indicted on felony charges that they conspired to cover up the actions of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the killing of McDonald. The indictment, approved by a Cook County grand jury, alleges that one current and two former officers lied about the events of Oct. 20, 2014 when Van Dyke shot the black teenager 16 times. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty File)

Chicago Police Department lined up outside of the District 1 central headquarters.  (Associated Press)

“Their sole responsibility will be to fight gun crime in the city of Chicago,” ATF Special Agent Tim Jones told the New York Times. “Our hope is that with more agents here, there will be more cases recommended for prosecution.”

Chicago officials have advocated for stricter gun laws as a way to reduce the city’s high murder rate, the New York Times reported.

But though gun violence has been a primary driver of the city's murder rate, varied methods have been employed in the 600 homicides to date.

In one instance, A former Northwestern University professor was charged with first-degree murder after fatally stabbing a 26-year-old in a sexual fantasy-gone wrong, Chicago police said.

Another man was charged with first-degree murder after reportedly stabbing one woman and two men in October.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.