Thirteen people were shot to death over the Labor Day weekend in Chicago, making it the deadliest holiday weekend of one of the deadliest summers the city has experienced in decades. The police department has not released its final tally for the weekend, but according to local media reports at least 65 people were shot over the weekend, including the 13 who died.
Among the wounded was a pregnant woman who delivered a nearly full-term baby after she was shot in the abdomen. The woman was listed in critical condition today, and the infant’s condition has not been released. The holiday weekend slayings come amid a dramatic spike in homicides. Ninety fatal shootings in August alone pushed the homicide total for 2016 beyond the 473 homicides recorded for all of last year.
Nearly 230 homicides happening during June, July and August the deadliest single month in Chicago since June 1996. The number of shootings and homicides over the Labor Day weekend were both higher than the Memorial Day and July 4 weekends and it was the last of the summer holidays before the school year started Tuesday.
Police have said the reasons for the uptick in homicides are tied to the easily availability of guns and gang violence. Most of the killings have been concentrated in neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides that are plagued with high unemployment and poverty and where gang membership is particularly high.