Chicago sees 2 shot dead, 9 wounded as violent January weekend draws to close

The new year began in Chicago with no sign that its barrage of gun violence would end.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that at least two were murdered, and nine were wounded in citywide shootings over the weekend.

On Saturday, the newspaper reported, eight were shot — two fatally; six were shot on Friday.

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There was no gun violence reported on Sunday by the afternoon.

Police have said most killings in Chicago are tied to street gangs, with members vying for control of territory or simply retaliating for perceived slights by gang rivals, which these days are typically communicated through social media.

While homicide numbers dropped in many districts in Chicago in 2018, they went up in several neighborhoods on the city’s South and West Sides. Those areas have been plagued for years by gun and gang-related violence, including Englewood and West Garfield Park.

Although unclear if gang-related, the two dead in gun violence this weekend were 22-year-old Daniel L. Erskin Saturday night on the South Side and 21-year-old Christian A. Robinson Saturday afternoon on the North Side.

According to preliminary numbers released last Tuesday, homicides in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, fell by about 100 in 2018, compared to 2017 — though the total again eclipsed the number of homicides in Los Angeles and New York combined.

CHICAGO'S MURDER RATE IN 2018

Although the decrease in 2018 was significant, the number of killings in Chicago was higher than the combined total in New York City and Los Angeles -- for at least the third straight year.

Official numbers for 2018 were expected to be released in several weeks, according to the department.

Police in Chicago reported 561 homicides were committed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2018. That compared to 660 homicides in 2017 and more than 770 in 2016, which marked a 19-year high that put a national spotlight on Chicago’s persistently high rates of gun violence.

President Trump often has singled out Chicago’s high homicide rate, tweeting in 2017: “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ ... I will send in the Feds!” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has accused Trump of oversimplifying the problem and potential solutions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.