Chicago Violence: Police Blame Weekend Shootings on Gang Members Who Shoot Into Summer Crowds

“They take advantage of that opportunity and they shoot into a crowd, no matter who they hit"

As a particularly violent weekend neared an end in Chicago, the city's Chief of Patrol Fred Waller blamed many of the shootings and killings on gang members who shoot into summer crowds.

“They take advantage of that opportunity and they shoot into a crowd, no matter who they hit,” Waller said.

The weekend saw a large number of group shootings as gunmen targeted crowds at block parties and even a post-funeral gathering. 

Police say weekend shootings in Chicago left at least 11 people dead and around 70 wounded.

By comparison, at least seven people were killed and nearly 30 were wounded during the long Memorial Day weekend, often one of the most violent weekends of the year. 

The violence peaked early Sunday, including one shooting on the city's South Side that injured eight people.

In that shooting, police say several men opened fire into a group of people standing in the courtyard of a building in the 1300 block of West 76th Street. 

In another shooting, six people were shot, one of them fatally, while standing on a sidewalk Sunday morning in the Lawndale neighborhood.  

Seventeen-year-old Jahnae Patterson was killed around 2:30 a.m. while standing on the sidewalk in the 1300 block of South Millard Avenue when two gunmen approached and opened fire. Patterson was shot in the face and pronounced dead on the scene, according to police. Five other people - including two young boys, ages 11 and 14 - were wounded in the shooting as well.

"My baby just left the house. Twenty minutes later I get a call stating my baby got shot. And then when we get over there, they are shooting again," said Tanika Humphries, Patterson's mother. "This violence got to stop."

The two shootings were among six over the weekend where four or more people were shot. 

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson planned a Monday news conference to discuss the violence.

The spike in violence led to a chaotic scene outside Stroger Hospital, as families packed hospital grounds waiting for word about loved ones who had been shot.

Police have said violent crime has declined overall in Chicago. Still, anti-violence protesters have blocked freeways to voice their outrage. 

Chicago's gun violence has drawn national scrutiny, including from President Donald Trump. His lawyer, ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, tweeted Sunday blaming Chicago's longtime "Democratic rule."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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