On the same weekend were 29 people were killed in two separate mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, the city of Chicago is reeling after 25 people were shot in several incidents over a four-hour span early Sunday morning.
The first shooting, which took place at approximately 1:20 a.m. on Sunday morning, sent a total of seven people to local hospitals. One of the victims, a 21-year-old man, was listed in critical condition after being shot in the groin, and the other six victims all were in stable or good condition after the incident, according to authorities.
During the shooting, an unknown gunman in a black Camaro drove by a group of people congregating near a playground in the city’s Douglas Park neighborhood and opened fire. Several people in the group returned fire at the car, which fled the scene.
Police believe that nearly 75 shots were fired during the incident, with at least four or five people firing weapons.
Just over an hour later, two more victims were shot in the 1200 block of South Troy, according to police. The women were standing on the street when an unknown assailant opened fire, striking both victims. They were taken to area hospitals in stable condition.
At approximately 3:45 a.m., eight more people were shot in the 4200 block of West 18th in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood. A 33-year-old man, identified by family members as Demetrius Flowers, was killed in the shooting after being shot in the chest, while seven other individuals, including a 14-year-old boy, were also shot and treated for their injuries at local hospitals.
“My son was a great man,” his father Keith said. “He was a great man and I pray that nobody else has to feel this pain.”
Flowers was described as a family man, a father of three who was on his way home from a new job when he stopped to visit with friends in the Lawndale neighborhood, according to relatives. That’s when shots rang out, striking him in the chest.
“This violence on the street, it has to stop,” Keith Flowers said. “I’m gonna do everything in my power, and I ask the city to do everything it can, to eradicate this violence on the streets.”
All three shootings occurred in Chicago’s 10th Police District on the West Side, and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is directing more patrols to take place in the area to quell the surge in violence.
“Here in Chicago, we experienced an unacceptable and disheartening level of violence on the West Side last night,” he said.
The shootings come just hours after multiple mass shootings took place in El Paso, where 20 people were killed, and in Dayton, where a total of nine people were killed.
“I want to convey my deepest condolences to the people of Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, and most certainly to the citizens of this city, who have been so affected by the tragic level of violence in a society that’s become immune to these types of shootings,” Johnson said.
The police superintendent issued a call to action for citizens and politicians after the shootings, saying that Americans need to ask themselves tough questions as mass shootings continue to take place.
"I’m going to stop myself from becoming political here, but you have to stop and ask yourself ‘what more will it take before we get a handle on what’s going on, not just in Chicago but across the country?” Johnson asked.
A total of 50 additional officers are being added to District 10 patrols for the time being, along with three teams from the department’s organized crime unit.
During a Sunday press conference, Johnson said that all three shootings were gang or narcotics-related, but that it’s possible that several innocent bystanders were shot in the incidents.
Police do not believe that the shootings were related to one another and indicated that several victims have not been cooperating with the investigation.
In all, 43 people have been shot in the city of Chicago since Friday evening, according to figures released by the Chicago Police Department. Three of the victims were fatally wounded, with several more still listed in critical condition as of Sunday evening.
The surge in violence comes just days after Chicago police announced that murders and shootings in the city were at four-year lows through the first seven months of 2019. There were 282 murders reported in the first seven months of the year, compared to 321 reported during the same time span in 2018.