Chicago suffered yet another weekend of gun violence, with more than 22 shooting incidents injuring at least 31 people and leaving three dead, authorities said Monday.
A fourth person was killed in the early hours of Monday morning, adding to the official police tally that stretches from 6 p.m. Friday until midnight Sunday.
The weekend shootings follow an eruption of gun crime over the Fourth of July break, during which nine people were killed and at least 60 injured by firearms.
High gun crime has prompted Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and city leaders to renew calls for tougher state gun laws.
There were 414 murders last year in Chicago, according to official police statistics, with many deaths concentrated on the city's south and west sides, neighborhoods home to poorer blacks and Latinos. Chicago is one of America's most racially segregated cities.
These statistics, however, might not reflect the true extent of the problem. In April, Chicago Magazine published the results of a year-long investigation into the ways the Chicago Police Department reclassifies apparent homicides and other serious felonies to manipulate crime data for the city at the behest of senior city officials.
The latest weekend injuries and deaths included Chicagoan teenagers. Just after midnight on Monday, two boys, both 16, suffered gunshot wounds to their legs after police said someone shot them from a passing white van, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. They were brought to a hospital in stable condition.
Although gun crime in Chicago is often related to gangs or drugs, at least one shooting appeared to be a domestic dispute. One death and one injury happened after a 47-year-old man started arguing with a 27-year-old man and his mother.
The older man left the argument and returned with a gun, killing the son, Adarrius Thompson, and seriously injuring his mother, officials tell the Sun-Times. Both suffered gunshot wounds to their chest.
The alleged shooter remained at large as of midday Monday.
The wave of casualties has brought about calls from the public for peace. On Friday, community members and anti-violence activists marched through the streets of one neighborhood wracked by gun crime chanting "No more guns! No more shootings!"
"I come out every Friday night so the community sees that there’s a presence here and that we want violence to stop. We want peace here and we care" Lisa Ramsey, an anti-violence activist, told Al Jazeera.
"We’re hopeful here, but we still want to see that things change."
Gov. Quinn, a Democrat, repeated his call for new laws to curb the availability of assault weapons and large ammunition magazines, speaking in violence-plagued Morgan Park on the city's South Side.
"There are too many victims of a war being waged on our streets, a war fueled in part by the availability of deadly, military-style assault weapons that have no purpose other than killing," Quinn said.
The governor also visited the family of Tonya Gunn, 44, an innocent bystander shot dead at a barbecue on the Monday, July 7, the day after the deadly Fourth of July weekend.
Gunn's 11-year-old daughter had watched as a bullet from the drive-by shooting killed her mother.
"We cannot forget the Tonya Gunns across Illinois who do the right thing," Quinn said Sunday. "We’ve gotta do something in their memory to make sure we protect the public safety."
Quinn has thrown his support behind the proposed Illinois Public Safety Act. According to a news release from the governor's office, the bill would ban "possession, delivery, sale and purchase of assault weapons, large capacity ammunition feeding devices such as magazines or clips, and .50 caliber rifles and cartridges in Illinois."
State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) introduced the bill in the spring session of the legislature, with Quinn's support.
The law would allow people to hold onto legally owned assault weapons, but prohibit anyone from giving away or selling them to anyone other than a member of their family.
With The Associated Press