Twelve people were murdered as more than 40 were shot in ‘gang-related’ incidents in Chicago over the holiday weekend.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement that the majority of shootings and homicides from Friday afternoon through Monday morning were ‘targeted attacks by gangs against potential rivals who were at holiday gatherings’.
The Chicago Police Department (CPD) said they seized more than three dozen guns.
Guglielmi says 45 guns have been seized since Friday afternoon, which is slightly more than a typical weekend.
In the first 48 hours of the holiday weekend, 27 people had been shot and seven of those were pronounced dead.
Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters that many of the recent shootings appeared to be gang-related.
‘We now know the majority of these shootings and homicides were targeted attacks by gangs against potential rival gang members and groups who were at holiday gatherings,’ Johnson said at a press conference.
Johnson said the shootings were ‘deliberate and planned by one gang against another’.
‘They were targeted knowing full well that individuals would be at the homes of family and friends celebrating the holiday,’ Johnson said.
The Christmas weekend violence occurred during a year of record bloodshed in America’s third-largest city.
With a week to go before the year is over, more than 750 people have been killed in Chicago in 2016, marking the first time in nearly two decades that the number of homicides has exceeded 700, according to the Chicago Tribune newspaper, which has been tracking the violence.
There have been more murders in America’s third-largest city than in the two largest – Los Angeles and New York – combined.
The city is awash in illegally obtained guns, a major contributor to the problem, law enforcement officials say.
Chicago is planning to hire nearly 1,000 additional police officers over the next two years to help combat the rise in crime.
Homicides in Chicago have increased by more than 50 per cent since last year.
Officer Jose Estrada, a spokesman with the CPD told the New York Times on Sunday that the total number of shooting victims so far stood at 4,252, up 47 per cent from 2,884 at the same time in 2015.
An 18-year-old male was shot multiple times in the neck and back while he was driving at 1.30am on Sunday on the city’s Southwest Side, NBC 5 Chicago reported.
He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
No suspects are in custody for his murder.
Last year’s Christmas weekend saw 30 people shot and six of those died.
The majority of the individuals shot over the weekend were men under the age of 30.
Forty-two homicides have been recorded for December compared to 33 around the same time last year, the Tribune reported.
Niko Walker, 21, was found shot dead around 12.49am on Sunday in the backyard of a home of East 76th Street.
Police have not officially identified Walker as a victim, but family and friends took to social media to mourn him.
He had been shot in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Two men were gunned down in front of a home in the West Side Austin neighborhood around 10.50pm on Friday.
Derrick Jones, 21, was pronounced dead at the scene, while 20-year-old Stephen Tucker suffered gunshot wounds to the head and back and died at Mount Sinai Hospital, authorities told NBC 5.
On Saturday, a 20-year-old man was found unresponsive with a gunshot wound in the South Side West Englewood neighborhood shortly after 9pm, police told NBC 5.
He was taken to Christ Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Officers found a 27-year-old male on the ground with gunshot wounds around midnight on Saturday when the responded to reports of gunfire in the Brighton Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side.
The unidentified man suffered gunshot wounds to the head and abdomen and was pronounced dead at the scene at 12.25am.
Some victims have still not been identified in the fatal shootings.
Police are still investigating the deadly shootings over the holiday weekend.