Chicago's 2020 Memorial Day Shooting Deaths Have Already Surpassed Last Year's Toll

The city of Chicago recorded one of its most violent Memorial Day weekends in years, with nine dead and at least 36 others injured with more than 24 hours left in the unofficial start to summer 2020.

Chicago police say the holiday weekend saw the most shooting injuries since 2016 and is the deadliest Memorial Day weekend since 2015. The burst of gun violence primarily on the city's South and West sides occurred despite the state of Illinois still being under a coronavirus pandemic shelter-in-place order. The victims this weekend include a 16-year-old boy, Darnell Fisher, who was shot and killed Saturday in Washington Park and a drive-by shooting in Lawndale which left one man dead and three others injured outside a home.

During the 2019 Memorial Day weekend, seven people were killed and 34 others were wounded by gunfire throughout the greater Chicago area. Saturday alone marked the city's most violent this year, with 17 people shot, five fatally.

Law enforcement and both major local newspapers define Memorial Day weekend as extending from 5 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Tuesday. All of these shootings occurred prior to Monday morning. At least three of those wounded in the weekend shootings were teenagers, according to police records. A suspect was arrested in connection to the fatal shooting of the Washington Park teen, but was later released as police said the investigation is ongoing.

This weekend's gun violence is the city's worst in at least four years, a period in which the year-over-year shooting statistics steadily declined prior to 2020. During Memorial Day weekend of 2016, 69 people were shot, six fatally. And in 2015, 56 people were wounded and six people were shot and killed.

The shootings come as the city's law enforcement prepare to step up anti-violence measures by establishing a "Summer Operation Center." Warmer months, particularly those during unofficial summertime between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, are notoriously violent in the city of Chicago. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported Sunday, the police operation center allows officers to react in real-time to shooting threats using a network of gunshot detectors and cameras.

The Chicago Police Department told Newsweek Monday that they do not have updated statistics regarding the number of shootings beyond the numbers released from Sunday.

"Hundreds of street outreach workers — professional men and women — will be converging in the communities they serve to keep the communities safe, deescalating violence, addressing conflicts and also educating the community around the COVID-19 crisis that we're currently in," said Chris Patterson, director of programs at the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, speaking with the Sun-Times newspaper Sunday.

Last month, Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told Newsweek the city's stay-at-home orders had not slowed shootings in the month prior because such measures "are not lockdown or martial law." According to Chicago Tribune shooting records for 2020, there had been 498 shooting victims through March 31, and an additional 20 people had been shot in the first weekend of April alone - all of which occurred at the height of new coronavirus cases and deaths.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker put the statewide shelter-in-place order in effect on March 20.

Chicago police on Monday announced the arrest of two convicted felons in the city's 10th District on the southwest side, although it's unclear if the arrest was tied to any of the weekend shootings. The two men were charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon and were part of a CPD investigation alongside the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco (ATF).

On Sunday, a 46-year-old woman stabbed three men before someone stabbed her, the Chicago Tribune reported. All four were taken to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

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The city of Chicago recorded one of its most violent Memorial Day weekends in years, with nine dead and at least 36 others injured with more than 24 hours left in the unofficial start to summer 2020. JOSHUA LOTT / Stringer/Getty Images
Chicago's 2020 Memorial Day Shooting Deaths Have Already Surpassed Last Year's Toll | News