As Americans celebrated the founding of the nation over the weekend, crime rang out and left police officers from coast to coast the target of various attacks.
Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago and Baltimore were all rocked by shootings over the holiday weekend, leaving dozens dead and injured. As the dust settles from the holiday, reports show police officers in cities both large and small came under direct attack, most notably in Philadelphia, where two officers were shot and injured.
Thousands attended a Fourth of July concert and fireworks show on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Monday evening in Philadelphia, but chaos erupted when shots were fired nearby, leaving two officers injured.
"I'm still going to put my uniform on every day and come to work to serve because that's what I love to do," Philadelphia officer Sergio Diggs told WPVI after he was grazed on the forehead by a bullet. "I'm very grateful I was able to come home to my family. They are the reason I go out here and try to make a difference."
Police are still investigating the shooting that left Diggs and Montgomery County Deputy John Foster injured. A chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police is offering a $20,000 reward for any information on the shooting.
The weekend also proved dangerous for other officers in San Francisco, where a dozen officers were injured early Tuesday morning while trying to disperse "a large crowd" when suspects threw fireworks and glass bottles at them.
In Chicago, another unruly crowd targeted police cruisers in Portage Park by jumping on the hoods and punching windows. One Chicago officer was driving near the area when the crowd launched an object at the cruiser, breaking its windshield and sending the officer to the hospital with minor injuries.
In Portland, Maine, an unruly crowd began shooting fireworks at police officers assisting a man who had been shot and assaulted Monday, according to police.
"The attacks continued as investigators remained on scene for the next several hours. Officers were forced to deploy pepper balls into the groups that were targeting officers with mortar-style fireworks," the Portland Police Department said in a statement Tuesday. "Several officers were struck with sparks from the fireworks that were intentionally aimed at them."
Police said this was the second year in a row such an attack was carried out against officers. No serious injuries were reported.
In Haltom, Texas Saturday, a gunman opened fire on three officers who were responding to the scene of a shooting. A security camera outside a home showed the gunman ambushing the three officers after he fatally shot two people and injured a third. The officers are being treated at a local hospital.
The U.S. has been plagued with spiking violent crime since 2020, when murders jumped by 30% compared to 2019. Experts have pinned blame for the spikes on unprecedented fallout from coronavirus lockdowns, protests and riots following the death of George Floyd that year and police pulling back amid the defund the police movement.
Following 2020’s bloody year was another grim benchmark: The most law enforcement officers intentionally killed since 2001. The FBI reported that 73 law enforcement officers were deliberately killed in 2021, which is 27 more than in 2020 and the highest number since 2001.
Crime historically ticks up during the summer months. The trend is likely to continue this summer - perhaps even at higher levels than previous years according to some experts - with violent crime in many major cities already outpacing historic highs from the previous two years.
"When the warm weather comes you generally see more crime, especially violent crime, because more people out on the streets, more chances of victimization," Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD detective sergeant and current professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, recently told Fox News.