CHICAGO - Eight people were killed and dozens were wounded in shootings in Chicago during the long Memorial Day weekend, police said on Tuesday. Local media said the death count was higher - either 10 or 11 dead in gun violence over the four-day weekend, according to the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. The 96-hour spasm of gun violence added to the toll of what already has been a deadly year on the streets of the third-largest US city. Through May 13 this year there have been 183 homicides in the city, according to the latest police figures, up from 116 during the comparable period last year. Chicago's murder rate has outpaced New York City, which has more than twice the population.
The surge in deadly shootings has frustrated Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who vowed to cut the city's crime rate when he was elected last year. While most violent crime is down year to date, murders are up more than 50 percent, according to police data.
Officials say years of targeting by law enforcement has shattered Chicago's once-stable gang structure and that the jump in murders reflects a power struggle between the smaller gangs trying to fill the vacuum.