Chicago sees deadliest Memorial Day weekend in five years; police under fire


Chicago experienced its deadliest Memorial Day weekend in five years — at least 10 people shot to death and 40 others wounded — despite a stay-at-home order and stepped-up police patrols.

The death toll nearly matched the long holiday weekend of 2015 when 12 people were killed. Last year, seven people were fatally shot and 43 others were wounded.

This was the first long holiday weekend for Chicago’s new police superintendent, David Brown, who has been on the job a little over a month. On Friday, he said his officers would be visible in every neighborhood to try to contain what is traditionally a violent three days.

The shooting began within hours after he spoke and did not let up: Two people killed and six people wounded Friday afternoon through early Saturday; six people killed and 10 people wounded Saturday evening through early Sunday; one person killed and 13 people wounded Sunday afternoon through early Monday; and 12 people shot Monday into early Tuesday, one of them fatally. One man accidentally shot himself Monday afternoon.

More than 1,000 people have been shot this year in Chicago, about 100 more than this time last year, according to data compiled by the Tribune.

But the weekend shootings were upstaged by a scuffle between police officers and a large gathering on the South Side Sunday night that was caught on video and caught the attention of everyone from Chance the Rapper to Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Officers were called to the 7000 block of South Lowe Avenue in the Englewood neighborhood to disperse a crowd that had gathered on the street. The video shows a chaotic scene as officers struggled to break up the crowd, grabbing some of the people and chasing off others.

During the incident, an officer saw a man take a handgun and put it in front of a car before running south on Lowe, according to Chicago police. Police chased him down and arrested him. Sedrick Monroe, 42, was charged with one count of being an armed habitual criminal. Police said a loaded Glock handgun was recovered.

Not long afterward, officers responded to a “10-1” call — an officer needing immediate assistance — when shots were fired in the area.

Jaquan Hayden, 21, of Homewood, was arrested about 10:45 p.m. in the 7000 block of South Lowe Avenue after he was seen grabbing his waistband and running through a vacant lot, police said. After a short chase, he was taken into custody and a loaded revolver was recovered.

He is facing charges of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest, police said. He did not have a valid FOID card or concealed carry license.

Two officers were also taken to a hospital in good condition for minor injuries, police said. It was unclear what their injuries were.

Chance the Rapper shared the video and asked the city to “stop sending large groups of militarized police into our neighborhoods exclusively.” He noted that photos had been posted of large gatherings in North Side neighborhoods and at Millennium Park without similar police action.

Lightfoot tweeted that she was aware of the video and said, “We will continue to investigate the incident to ensure proper tactics were used — ensuring constitutional rights are protected — and that CPD officers are wearing face coverings to maintain public health.”

Lightfoot said police enforcement should be the last resort to ensure social distancing, but “for the greater good, when absolutely necessary, we will — no matter which neighborhood large crowds are gathering in.” She added that police responded to dozens of reports of social distancing violations across the city, from Lincoln Park and Humboldt Park to Andersonville and Auburn Gresham.

Police officials said in a statement, “The Chicago Police Department strives to ensure any enforcement of the statewide stay-at-home order is universal regardless of neighborhood, community or district.”

The Englewood district also logged two fatal shooting over the weekend, the second most gun homicides in the city. The West Side’s Harrison district, one of the most violent in the city, had the most with three. Five other districts — Morgan Park, Grand Crossing, Shakespeare, Gresham and Calumet — all had one homicide each.

Three teenagers were shot over the weekend, including 16-year-old Darnell Fisher who was killed Saturday night in the Washington Park neighborhood. Police took someone in custody for a weapons charge, but the person was released about 4 a.m. Sunday because prosecutors denied charges.

A 15-year-old boy was shot in the face, chest and abdomen early Saturday in the South Shore neighborhood and taken to a hospital in critical condition. A 15-year-old girl was grazed in the leg by a bullet early Monday in the West Pullman neighborhood while sitting on a porch.

The tally of shootings doesn’t include an attack where four people were stabbed at 9:15 p.m. Sunday after an argument erupted with tenants of a Gresham apartment building in their backyard, police said. A 46-year-old woman took out a knife and stabbed three men before someone stabbed her, police said. They were all taken to hospitals with injuries that were not life-threatening. Charges were pending against the woman.

The last homicide of the weekend was about 8:30 p.m. Monday in the 2800 block of West Wilcox Street in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side, police said. Two men, 45 and 52, were standing on the sidewalk when someone in a white sedan fired shots at them, police said.

The younger man was shot in the head and torso. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The older man was taken to Mt. Sinai Medical Center in good condition with a gunshot wound to the left leg, police said. No arrests have been made.

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