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Labor Day violence: Shootings sharply up as fewer Chicago police officers deployed on streets than last year

By Alice Yin, Chicago Tribune 20 hrs ago Dorian batters Florida as it

CHICAGO – Gun violence in Chicago over the Labor Day weekend rose sharply this year with at least 44 people shot, nine of them killed, as Chicago police deployed hundreds of fewer officers than last year.

The Grand Crossing and Englewood police districts on the South Side were hit with the most violence, each reporting seven people shot from Friday night to early Tuesday morning. In two of the shootings on the South Side, at least four people were wounded in each attack.

The youngest person killed was 15-year-old Dovantae Jackson, who was gunned down early Sunday in front of his home in Austin. During a vigil for the boy the next day, another 15-year-old was wounded in the Longwood Manor neighborhood on the Far South Side. The oldest person shot was a 52-year-old man in the Rosemoor neighborhood on the Far South Side.

Shootings were reported as far south as Morgan Park on the Far South Side, and in Humboldt Park and Austin to the northwest and west. No shootings were reported on the North or Near North sides.

Ahead of the three-day weekend, Chicago police superintendent said his department planned to deploy 1,000 additional officers, down from 400 last year, noting that Labor Day weekend “hasn’t been quite as taxing as the previous two holidays.”

“This past summer we saw the lowest levels of violence since 2014,” Johnson told reporters at a press conference. “We still have far too many families victimized by senseless violence. While progress is being made, we’re nowhere near where we need to be in terms of creating a culture of accountability.”

By Tuesday morning, the toll from the holiday weekend toll far exceeded last year’s, when 27 were shot, seven fatally, according to Tribune data.

Other recent Labor Day weekends have seen even greater violence. At least 45 people were shot, seven fatally, in 2017. And in 2016, a notoriously brutal year for gun violence in the city, a staggering 63 were shot, 13 fatally.

Multiple-victim shootings were down this weekend compared to earlier this summer – a goal expressed by Johnson. But instances of shooters aiming at large crowds outside still terrorized blocks of the city.

Before the sun went down Saturday evening, two people were killed and three others were wounded in the West Englewood neighborhood, officials said. The five had gathered on a front porch in the 7100 block of South Paulina Street around 5:50 p.m. when a gunman in a dark-colored vehicle opened fire, according to police.

Authorities said a 32-year-old man and a 26-year-old man were killed. A 25-year-old woman, a 27-year-old man and a 38-year-old man were wounded.

In the Washington Park neighborhood, four men were shot during an outdoor party late Monday. They were gathered with others outside in the 6200 block of South King Drive when two gunmen jumped out of a white Ford Explorer, opened fire and fled, police said. All were expected to survive.

L. Saint Hugh Saint Clair, 53, said it was warm out when he passed the party on his way to Washington Park. He heard a long stream of gunshots, then saw several ambulances in front of the crowd.

“I just drove by and everything was OK, so this is sad.” Saint Clair said. “They really didn’t care who they hit, as long as they hit somebody.”

Saint Clair said he was alarmed at the trend of large parties on the South Side ending in shootings. “It’s kind of like a hate crime,” he said. “The hate you have on a get together to just shoot to injure and kill people. When y’all going to stop?”

The last homicide of the weekend occurred Tuesday morning in the Gresham neighborhood on the South Side. A 32-year-old man was found shot in the head about 1:20 a.m. on a sidewalk in the 8500 block of South Aberdeen. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

On Sunday morning, two people were killed in the Archer Heights neighborhood on the Southwest Side. The men were driving in the 5100 block of South Pulaski Road when someone in a passing car opened fire. Christopher Smith, 37, of Monee and an unidentified man were pronounced dead, authorities said.

Other attacks:

– A 27-year-old man died in a shooting at a house party Sunday morning in the West Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side. He was with others in the 6100 block of South St. Lawrence Avenue when at least one person inside opened fire about 2:50 a.m. He was hit several times and a 34-year-old woman, not believed to be a target, was shot in the foot, police said.

– Another fatal attack happened Saturday morning in a double shooting in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Shortly after 4:40 a.m., someone in a vehicle opened fire and hit a 17-year-old boy and 23-year-old man. The boy, Angel Perez, suffered wounds to the chest and was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

– The first deadly shooting of the weekend happened shortly after 12:20 a.m. Saturday in the South Chicago neighborhood in the 8700 block of South Burley Avenue. Officers found 42-year-old Willie Coker with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest. He was standing outside with a group of people when shots were fired from an unknown direction. Coker was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

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