Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend in Chicago, 82 people were shot in an 84-hour window, according to the Chicago Tribune. Fourteen were dead by Monday morning, including two boys, aged 14 and 16, who were killed by police in separate incidents when they allegedly refused to drop their guns. Things were so chaotic Sunday night that officers responding to the spasm of violence reportedly kept interrupting one another on their radios to report still newer bursts of gunfire. The string of shootings garnered national media attention and prompted Mayor Rahm Emanuel to plead with residents on Monday to put down their guns. “Wherever you are, wherever you live, the gun violence that was part of this weekend is totally unacceptable,” Emanuel told a gathering of concerned citizens on the city’s South Side, where many of the shootings took place.
The outbreak of violence stood in stark contrast to the message coming from Chicago City Hall in April, when Emanuel and his police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, trumpeted police statistics that showed the city had seen its lowest number of murders for the first three months of a year in more than a half-century. That announcement followed January’s much-hyped news that 2013’s homicide total was 415—still a lot of people killed, but 88 fewer than the previous year and the lowest total since 1965. Emanuel, up for re-election early next year, has highlighted the city’s progress in curbing violence in what was the nation’s murder capital in 2012.