An incredible 66 people were shot, although just six were killed, over Chicago’s Memorial Day weekend. The carnage pushed the number of gunshot victims well above 1,500 this year in this Democratic-run city.
One of the youngest victims was a 15-year-old girl who was killed on the city’s famed Lake Shore Drive while a passenger in a car driven by a known gang member.
Teenager Veronica Lopez, a resident of the Northwest Side, was killed at 1:30 AM Saturday morning while in the car of a 22-year-old man who police say has a history of gang membership. He was also shot and is now listed in stable condition. Police say he drove himself and the girl to the hospital after the shooting.
The shootings began over a dozen hours earlier on Friday midday — eight people were shot and two killed between 11.00 AM and midnight.
The blood continued to flow all weekend, with victims in their teens and early 20s dominating the mounting tally.
Police also asked for help from the public to identify a group of men who chased a man and women early Sunday morning. It was an attack that cost the woman her life. Police aren’t sure why the pair were being chased but they expect it was an intended robbery or rape attempt. As she tried to escape, the woman was hit by a car and killed. Pamela Johnson, 32, became the sixth and final fatality of this terrible Memorial Day weekend.
But Johnson’s death on Sunday morning wasn’t the end of the blood letting. While 17 were shot later that Sunday, another dozen where hit by gunfire on Memorial Day itself.
The Chicago Police had added thousands of officers to weekend patrol duties because shootings are up over 50 percent over 2015. “Beginning now, several thousand Chicago police officers will be deployed in uniform throughout neighborhood, parks, roadways and lakefront to make sure everyone has safe and enjoyable holiday weekend,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said on Thursday as the Memorial Day weekend neared.
It appears the extra officers barely made a dent in the chaos.
Memorial Day 2016 outpaced the toll of violence for both 2015 and 2014, but not the death tolls. In 2015, 45 were wounded, and 12 deaths were recorded. In 2014, 21 were wounded and eight killed. While far more were shot this year than any other Memorial Day weekend, Chicago can take some solace that fewer ended up dead.
So far this year there have been 1,514 people shot in Chicago. Of that number, 228 have been killed by the gunfire. An additional 26 murders by other means pushed the death toll to 254. Sixty-two of those homicides happened in May.