Chicago Suffers Weekend of Deadly Shootings
Police in the US city of Chicago have asked for more help to combat gun violence after more than 60 people were shot over the weekend.
At least 10 people were killed in the city and police say most of the shootings were gang related.
“We will not be defeated,” police chief Fred Waller told reporters on Sunday.
“We need more help from our judicial system. We need more help from our federal partners, and we are getting it,” he added.
Most of the shootings happened on Sunday with 30 people shot between midnight and 03:00.
The majority of the incidents reportedly occurred in Chicago’s south and west sides.
“It’s one of our most violent weekends, there’s no question about that,” a police spokesman told a news conference on Sunday.
Donovan Price, a pastor and emergency administrator, told CBS News that the city was like a “war zone”.
“This is just out of control right now,” he said. “It’s a war zone going on right now. Chicago is just crazy.”
“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” one police officer who was stationed outside a hospital told the Chicago Sun Times newspaper. “It’s hot right now. There’s a lot of tension… and it might get worse.”
But officials say the spike in violence is at odds with the general trend in the city, where shootings are said to be decreasing.
Earlier this month, the Chicago Tribune reported that there had been 532 fewer shootings this year compared to 2017.
Police chief Waller told reporters that shootings had decreased by 30% from 2017, and murders by 25%.
He said that much of the weekend’s violence was a result of gang members shooting at large crowds indiscriminately.
“An offender or some type of rival gang sees a large group of people… and they shoot into a crowd, no matter who they hit,” he said.
“We won’t be overrun by that small group, that small element that is committing these reckless acts.”
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly vowed to intervene in Chicago, and last year he said that crime and killings had reached “epidemic proportions” in the city.
Last June, officials announced the creation of the Chicago Gun Strike Force which comprises city police officers, state troopers, federal agents and intelligence research specialists.
It was created to help curb the flow of illegal guns and to target repeat gun offenders, who authorities say are responsible for the city’s violence problem.