Labor Day Weekend Killings Lift City to Bloody Milestone

The long weekend was the deadliest holiday weekend this summer

The 13 killings that happened over Labor Day weekend in Chicago were enough to bring the city to a bloody milestone not seen in more than a decade. 

The city reportedly topped 500 homicides for the year over the long holiday weekend, a number reminiscent of the historic violence recorded in the 1990s.

According to data from the Chicago Tribune, homicides for the year so far have reached 512, with more than three months still to go. 

The number differs from that reported by Chicago police, whose "murder rate" does not include killings considered "justifiable homicides" or those that take place on area expressways. According to the department, the murder rate for the year, as of midnight Tuesday, had reached 488. 

That number still exceeds the number of reported homicides in each of the last 13 years. 

The last time the city exceeded 480 homicides in a year was 2003, which recorded 601 killings, according to police data. Last year, the city saw 473 homicides for the year. 

Thirteen people were killed and at least 52 others, including a pregnant woman, were wounded across Chicago over the Labor Day Weekend, amid a late surge in violence.

The city headed into Labor Day with fewer than three dozen people shot, but that number nearly doubled as the holiday came to a close. 

The long weekend was the deadliest holiday weekend this summer, after Memorial Day had six people killed and the Fourth of July saw at least four fatalities.

In 2015, 54 people were shot, 8 fatally, over Labor Day Weekend. 

"Our crime in Chicago is concentrated to certain pockets on the South and West Sides. Three districts in particular are driving the vast majority of the crime and this isn’t a mystery," Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said Tuesday. "We know socio-economic hills drive a lot of these crimes, drives the violence these kids grow up in, but at the same time, when I go home at night and I see my neighbors, they’re asking me, how come African-Americans won’t step up to the plate and be parents to their children. So all this fundamentally starts at home."

Last month, the city recorded its deadliest month on record in 20 years

With 384 shooting incidents, including 472 shooting victims and 90 homicides, August saw the most killings in one month since June 1996, which also recorded 90 homicides.

The number of homicides so far this year in Chicago are more than both New York City and Los Angeles combined. 

New York City has reported 227 homicides, according to city data as of Aug. 28, while Los Angeles recorded 182 homicides, according to police statistics posted Aug. 27. 

"If we had the gun laws in Chicago that LA and New York have, we would see our violent crimes cut in half," Johnson said.

Police have blamed access to illegal guns, repeat offenders and not enough penalties for gun offenses for the city’s rising number of shootings.

"Until we show these repeat offenders that we’re serious this is going to keep occurring," Johnson said once again Tuesday. 

The city’s violence has been spotlighted nationwide, with comments from celebrities including Bulls' standout Dwyane Wade, Donald Trump, Kanye West and NBA star Jabari Parker.

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