CHICAGO (AP) — One of Chicago’s bloodiest holiday weekends in memory ended with 17 people fatally shot, including a 7-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, and 70 more wounded, despite a concerted effort to quell the violence with an additional 1,200 police officers on the streets.
The violence was far worse than last year, when the long July Fourth weekend ended with six people dead and 66 wounded in gunfire. And the holiday weekend of violence follows Chicago’s deadliest Memorial Day weekend since 2015.
After a relatively peaceful Friday, gunfire erupted Saturday evening. Seven-year-old Natalia Wallace was standing on the sidewalk outside her grandmother’s house on the city’s West Side during a Fourth of July party around 7 p.m. when, according to police, suspects climbed from a car and opened fire. The child was shot in the head.
“Bullets just came from nowhere,” Natalia’s grandmother, Linda Rogers, told the Chicago Tribune on Sunday. “I came out here and my grandbaby (was) lying on the ground.”
A Chicago police spokeswoman said a man is in custody in that shooting and charges are pending, but could provide no details. The department did not immediately know how many, if any, arrests have been made in the other weekend homicides.
This year, the department counted July Fourth weekend shootings from 6 p.m. Thursday through the end of Sunday. In all, 13 children under the age of 18 were shot, including the two that died.
The weekend violence highlighted what has been a particularly dangerous year for children in the city. Police statistics show there have been 32 homicide victims under the age of 18 so far in 2020 compared to 20 during the same period in 2019.
A week earlier, Chicago’s shooting victims included a 1-year-old boy riding in a car with his mother and a 10-year-old girl who was shot by a bullet fired a block away that pierced a window and struck her in the head as she sat on a couch at home.
Chicago has counted a total of 1,782 shooting victims this year, 550 more than during the same period last year. And the weekend brought the number of homicides for the year to 353, which is 99 more than were recorded for the same period last year.