Ten die in Memorial Day weekend Chicago shootings

CHICAGO Tue May 29, 2012 10:02pm EDT

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Ten people were killed and dozens were wounded in shootings in Chicago during the long Memorial Day weekend, police said on Tuesday.

The 96-hour spasm of gun violence added to the toll of what already has been a deadly year on the streets of the third-largest U.S. city.

Through May 13 this year there have been 185 homicides in the city, according to the latest police figures, up from 116 during the comparable period last year. Chicago's murder rate has outpaced New York City, which has more than twice the population.

This weekend's victims included a 7-year-old girl wounded Friday afternoon while playing in front of her house on the city's south side and a 13-year-old boy slain in a pizzeria on the city's north side early Tuesday.

The surge in deadly shootings has frustrated Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who vowed to cut the city's crime rate when he was elected last year. While most violent crime is down year to date, murders are up more than 50 percent, according to police data.

Officials say years of targeting by law enforcement has shattered Chicago's once-stable gang structure and that the jump in murders reflects a power struggle between the smaller gangs trying to fill the vacuum.

On Tuesday, Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy announced a new push to fight gang-related violence and to close businesses in the city they said served as "conduits for criminal activity."

Officials said record heat also may have contributed to the violence during the holiday weekend. In Chicago and other U.S. cities, homicide rates rise along with the temperature in the spring and summer as more people go out into the streets and drink to cool off.

Temperatures in the city reached 97 on Sunday and 95 on Monday, making it the hottest Memorial Day weekend in more than a century, according to the National Weather Service.

(Editing by Greg McCune and Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments (2)
boonteetan wrote:
Compounded by high unemployment rate and unusual heat, the president’s home city has turned more violent.
This long Memorial Day weekend will always be remembered by the close family members and friends of unfortunate victims.
Yet guns are more easily available everywhere. (vzc1943, mtd1943)

May 29, 2012 10:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ramsglen wrote:
Where was Obama from?? Didn’t he do a lot of organizational stuff in this fine city? Maybe he can go home and live in his next. Take his kids and walk down the street.
What a mess. And the Runt Mayor is right there too. Obama’s number two man.

May 29, 2012 11:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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