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40 People Shot in Chicago Over Holiday Weekend

  • VOA News

FILE - Chicago police display some of the thousands of illegal firearms that were confiscated in Chicago, July 7, 2014.

Police in the Midwestern U.S. city of Chicago say more than 40 people were shot over the Christmas weekend, with 12 of the victims dying.

The news comes as Chicago, the nation's third-largest city, faces a wave of violence, with homicides increasing 40 percent since last year.

The holiday violence includes a family Christmas party where two people were killed and several others wounded.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters Monday that 90 percent of those killed this weekend had gang affiliations, criminal histories, or were pre-identified by officials as being a potential offender or victim of gun violence.

Johnson argued that politicians need to strengthen gun sentencing laws. "This unacceptable level of violence demonstrates the clear and present need for policymakers to convene in January and give Chicago the gun sentencing tools against repeat gun offenders so that we can begin to change this narrative.

"If you pick up a gun and shoot somebody you should go to prison, period, that's the end of that story. ... Some people want to give them a pass for it. I don't," he added.

Johnson said officers also seized 45 guns from city streets this holiday weekend, which he said is higher than a typical weekend.

More than 700 homicides have been reported in Chicago this year. That is up from less than 500 homicides last year.

Police say most of the killings have occurred in Chicago's southern and western neighborhoods. Although crime rates in Chicago and the rest of the United States remain well below those between 1990 and 1995, homicides began to surge in numerous large cities last year.

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