Amid a statewide stay-at-home order, Chicago saw the most violent five-day span of the year earlier this week, with 60 people shot between Sunday and Thursday.
Of those shot, 17 died and 43 were wounded.
Two more were killed in other ways: a man pushed in front of a Red Line train in the Loop on Tuesday, and a man stabbed late Sunday on the West Side.
Victims ranged in age from 5 to 66 years; 10 were younger than 18.
The five-day outburst of violence dwarfed the numbers recorded during the same time period in 2019 — then, like now, temperatures reached the 70s. From April 7 to April 11, 2019, 13 people were killed and another 26 wounded in shootings, according to Chicago Police data.
With temperatures reaching summer-like highs Tuesday, the city saw its single most violent day of the year: eight killed and 15 others — including a 5-year-old girl — wounded in shootings. On average, a shooting occurred once every 83 minutes on Tuesday.
“I’m an optimistic person. I believe in the basic goodness of humanity,” Interim CPD Supt. Charlie Beck said Wednesday. “And to see people turn those ideals upside down and, for their own petty reasons, be so extremely violent is really disappointing.
Though numbers were stark, the bloodshed was, largely, concentrated. More than half the shooting incidents were in four of the CPD’s 22 districts — Harrison, Englewood, Gresham and Ogden.
The Harrison, Englewood and Gresham districts on the South and West sides serve largely African American constituencies, while the Ogden District on the West Side is split between African Americans in East and West Garfield Park and Latinx residents in Little Village.
A recent analysis found that African Americans make up 72% of all Chicago residents who have died due to COVID-19, despite being just 30% of the city’s overall population.
Earlier this week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot decried the spike in violence, saying it was diverting precious resources from medical professionals working to treat COVID-19 patients.
“This is especially urgent now as our ability to treat all Chicagoans is being stretched to the breaking point. We cannot allow this to happen. People know who the shooters are. You know who you are. These cowards cannot be given any shelter,” she said.
To protect the health and wellness of its employees, CPD leadership has instructed officers to minimize contact with civilians except when public safety faces an immediate threat. Since March 25, the department has issued more than 2,000 dispersal orders — directives from officers telling people to stop congregating in large groups.
Harrison District Cmdr. Darrell Spencer went even further last week. Four blocks in the district with histories of gang and narcotics activity were placed under an even more stringent lockdown.
Officers were instructed to monitor those blocks — the 3900 block of West Van Buren, the 200 block of South Springfield, the 1100 block of North Monticello and the 3800 block of West Gladys — and check the ID of everyone who entered to ensure only residents passed through. Some officers, though, told the Sun-Times they were hesitant to obey the order out of concerns it wasn’t constitutional.