The month of May got off to a violent start in Chicago.
Three people were killed overnight and 20 others were wounded -- including two 16-year-olds -- in shootings across the city. About a dozen were shot in 12 hours, police said.
The gunfire erupted on a particularly warm day -- the city's first in seven months with temperatures in the 80s -- and on the eve of city officials touting a big reduction in the number of homicides for the first part of the year.
A man in his 30s was found dead in an alley in the 1900 block of South Drake overnight. After midnight, the first murder of May happened in the South Shore neighborhood where a 27-year-old man was shot in the chest near his home at 68th and Cornell. Neighbors said the man was a father of three.
Another shooting happened in front of the University of Illinois-Chicago police station, where three men were struck around 10:40 p.m. A 19- year-old died. Police said he was a known gang member.
Six others were wounded in two separate shootings Tuesday night in the Roseland and South Shore neighborhoods.
A gunman emerged from a gangway and shot a teenage boy and two men in the 300 block of West 108th Place about 6:15 p.m., police said.
The boy, 16, was shot in the hand and taken to MetroSouth Medical Center in good condition, police said. A 45-year-old man was shot in the abdomen area and a 36-year-old man was shot in the armpit. Both were taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in critical condition.
Three more men were shot and wounded about 45 minutes later in a separate shooting in the 2000 block of East 71st Street, police said.
In that shooting, an 18-year-old man was shot in the lower back and a 22-year-old man was shot in the abdomen area, police said. Both men were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious-to-critical condition. The third man suffered two graze wounds and refused medical treatment.
The evening’s first shooting happened in the Uptown neighborhood about 5:15 p.m. A 22-year-old man was shot in the leg near North Sheridan Road and West Windsor Avenue, police said. Fire Media Affairs said the man was taken in critical condition to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.
Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said the injured man was a known gang member and a woman was also hurt running away from the shooting.
About 7:30 p.m., a 16-year-old girl was shot in the arm in the 700 block of East Oakwood Avenue, police said. She was taken to Mercy Hospital and Medical Center in good condition.
About 8:15 p.m., a 24-year-old man was shot twice in the 5500 block of South King Drive, police said.
Additionally, the fire department said a 30-year-old man was critically injured in a shooting in the 5500 block of South Union Avenue. Police could not provide further information.
Ironically, the shots rang out just as the Chicago Police Department released data that showed a 42 percent drop in homicides for the first quarter of the year compared to the same a year ago. The period of January 1 through April 30 will be the first time the department recorded fewer than 100 murders in the first four months of the year since 1963, officials said.
As of 6:45 p.m., there had been 19 fewer homicides in April compared to the same month last year, said Adam Collins, the Director of News Affairs with the Chicago Police Department.
Additionally, unofficial numbers put April 2013 with having the fewest number of homicides in at least five years.
A police source told NBC Chicago the department credits the Violence Reduction Initiative -- officers paid overtime to work extra nightly shifts -- with the drop.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said last week the foot patrols in strategic areas has also had a dramatic impact on crime. That initiative, he said, would be expanded.
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