Monday, August 29, 2016

Shootings and Murders in Chicago Continue to Spike

Even before the high-profile shooting death of Nykea Aldridge, NBA star Dwyane Wade's cousin, Chicago had been battling a citywide spike in violent crime. While the connection to one of the country's best-known athletes has drawn national attention to the city's problem with gun violence, the underlying problem remains all too familiar for many Chicago residents.

Following Aldridge's death, nine people were killed and nearly 50 were shot across Chicago over the weekend, ABC Chicago station WLS-TV reported. Aldridge's death took place just one day after Wade participated in an ESPN Town Hall on gun violence in the Windy City, an event also attended by Wade's mother, the pastor Jolinda Wade.

"Just sat up on a panel yesterday, The Undefeated, talking about the violence that's going on within our city of Chicago, never knowing that the next day we would be the ones that would be actually living and experiencing it," she said. "We're still going to try and help these people to transform their minds and give them a different direction, so this thing won't keep happening."

Murders have spiked by 49 percent this year compared to last year, and 81 percent over the same time period in 2014.

With more than 450 murders so far in 2015, Chicago is on pace for its highest overall murder count since at least 2012, when 504 were recorded in the entire year.

Overall shooting incidents -- at more than 2,200 and counting -- have mirrored that rise, with a 48 percent spike so far in 2016.

Police blame gangs for a disproportionate share of the city's violent crime.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said on Saturday that about 1,400 people -- many of them gangs members -- are driving 85 percent of the city's gun violence. The two suspects in Aldridge's death are both documented gang members, police said.

Tragically, many of the shooting victims get caught in the crossfire.

Aldridge, 32, was hit by stray bullets as she pushed her newborn in a stroller after enrolling one of her children in school, WLS-TV reported.

This year's shootings have intensified with the summer heat. This July alone, Chicago saw 65 homicides — the most for that month since 2006, the Associated Press reported.

On Aug. 8, nine people were murdered in Chicago, making it the bloodiest day in 13 years, according to the Chicago Tribune. The victims that day included a 10-year-old boy shot in the back as he played on his front porch, the Tribune reported. Some 27 children younger than 13 have been shot in Chicago so far this year, according to WLS-TV.

Thanks to J.J. Gallagher.

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