By Carey Gillam
(Reuters) – The July Fourth holiday weekend brought an explosion of gunfire to Chicago, where at least 60 people were shot and roughly a dozen killed, authorities said on Monday.
The violence was so widespread during the three-day weekend that police were still tallying the dead and wounded, Chicago Police Department spokesman Hector Alfaro said.
In a news conference Monday morning, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy called the violence “unacceptable,” and he blamed it in part on a “proliferation of firearms.”
The Chicago Tribune reported 82 people were shot and 14 killed. To try to quell the violence, SWAT teams patrolled the streets along with police officers and law enforcement brought in SUVs packed with rifles, the paper said. Those shot ranged in age from 14 to 66, according to the paper.
Police said five people were shot by officers and at least two of them were killed over the Independence Day weekend.
In three of the incidents, the victims had pointed weapons at officers when they were shot, according to a statement issued by the Chicago Police Department.
A fourth man was shot and seriously wounded by police after he told them he had a weapon, police said. From Sunday afternoon into Monday morning alone, 29 people were wounded and four killed by gunfire, according to DNAinfo.com, a Chicago news outlet.
The office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it had no comment on the violence. Earlier this year, Emanuel announced a “summer safety” plan that called for 300 extra police officers to patrol over the Fourth of July weekend.
Multiple shootings were reported around the United States over the holiday weekend. Police in Houston, Texas, said on Monday that four people were shot at a dance early Saturday, including one 16-year-old boy who was critically wounded.
In St. Louis, Missouri, at least seven people were shot, three of them fatally, over the weekend, according to police.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Eric Beech)