Seven people were fatally shot in Chicago on Wednesday, making it the deadliest day of 2017 so far.
And it was only the 21st time in the past 16 years that Chicago has seen that many homicides in a single day, records analyzed by the Chicago Sun-Times show.
The bloody day prompted another tweet from President Donald Trump, who wrote “Seven people shot and killed yesterday in Chicago. What is going on there – totally out of control. Chicago needs help!”
As has been the case with other Trump tweets about the subject, there were no specifics from the president as to how he might help the city.
Seven people shot and killed yesterday in Chicago. What is going on there - totally out of control. Chicago needs help!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2017
Six of the seven homicide victims Wednesday were killed on the South Side, with the seventh being shot to death in Little Village. They ranged from a pregnant woman in her 20s to a 60-year-old man. Five of the seven homicides recorded came within a two-hour period.
Ninety-eight homicides have been recorded in the city in the first eight weeks of the year, according to Sun-Times records. That’s one more than the number of people killed in the city during the same time last year — considered the most violent in Chicago in two decades.
Trump’s tweet is the latest in a string of salvos at Chicago that have sparked Mayor Rahm Emanuel to travel to Washington, D.C., to discuss what sort of federal help the Trump administration might be willing to provide the city.
In an emailed statement Thursday night, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said the rampant violence in the city is “unacceptable to me, to the Mayor and to everyone who lives in Chicago.”
Johnson added that the federal government has not yet responded to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s request for federal support.
“We’ve made requests to the White House and the Justice Department for them to support our work — from increasing federal gun prosecution to more FBI, DEA and ATF agents to more funding for mentoring, job training and more,” Johnson said.
About a month ago, Trump threatened on Twitter that “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on,” he would “send in the Feds!” Less than two weeks after tweeting about federal intervention, 20 additional agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were reassigned to Chicago.
Emanuel traveled to Washington, D.C., earlier this month to meet with newly confirmed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and discuss “what might be done to combat the shootings and bring back proactive community policing,” according to a Justice Department spokesman.
Back in Chicago after the meeting, Emanuel told reporters that the purpose of his Washington trip “was to go out and be very specific that, if you’re talking about federal help, this is what we mean by federal help: From law enforcement cooperation and participation to investing in kids to prosecuting gun crimes to economic development in our neighborhoods.”
Besides sparking the latest Trump Twitter eruption, Wednesday’s spate of shootings is giving political ammunition to Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo in his running battle with the City Council’s Black Caucus over the Caucus’ demand for major changes in the upcoming police contract.
The Black Caucus says the FOP contract protects officers from being adequately investigated and disciplined for potential misconduct. Angelo says the Black Caucus is more concerned about changing a deal that doesn’t stand in the way of punishing wayward officers than it is about stopping the bloodshed on Chicago streets.
“You’re hearing from a select population of people who have an agenda. And that agenda plays into the anti-police platform that a lot of politicians are running on instead of what they should be looking at, which is an anti-crime platform,” Angelo said.
Besides the seven homicides on Wednesday, another six people were wounded by gunfire.
Those shootings all occurred within eight police districts, mostly on the South Side. Among the districts with no recorded shootings were Harrison and Englewood — traditionally two of the most violent in the city — where the police department recently announced plans to double the number of ShotSpotter cameras.
“When the Mayor was briefed by police leadership this morning his first question to them was, ‘How do we drive the progress we’re seeing in two of our historically more violent neighborhoods, which have seen declines in recent weeks, into those that are seeing increases this year?’” mayoral spokesman Matt McGrath said in an emailed statement.