The Memorial Day weekend represents the unofficial start of summer across the United States. The 2016 holiday weekend proved to be the deadliest in the past two years, setting a record for shootings in the city. The Chicago Police Department attempted to thwart the violence by increasing police presence in the areas considered to be more prone to violence. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson also took to the streets to help strengthen the authoritative presence of the police force.
The violence across the city was not contained geographically, as shootings occurred on the North and South sides of the city, as well as west and along Lake Shore Drive. The final count was eight people dead, and 62 shot, this holiday weekend, which sets an unfortunate new record for Chicago. An unofficial source inside the Chicago Police Department told ABC News that police data shows that the toll for this year’s shootings surpassed the previous Memorial Day weekend.
Late Monday, May 30, 2016, in Washington Park on the city’s South Side, a 44-year old man was shot in the chest. He was pronounced dead at an area hospital. Police said that the victim was a well-known gang member, and no one was cooperating in providing information for the investigation. Almost simultaneously, on the North Side of the city, a 25-year old man was shot in the neck in the 6400 block of North Rockwell. Authorities say he was declared dead at Presence Saint Francis Hospital.
The holiday weekend’s first fatal shooting took place Friday, May 27, 2016, when a 27-year-old man was shot and killed in Ashburn, a neighborhood on the Southwest Side of the city. The victim was identified as Mark Lindsey, who was sitting in a parked vehicle near his home when a man approached and shot him several times in the chest and the rest of his body. According to authorities, Lindsay attempted to escape the deadly attack but died driving away and crashed into another vehicle. He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn where he was pronounced dead at 11.34 p.m., authorities said.
The violence continued when, at 1:30 a.m., early Saturday morning, 15-year-old Veronica Lopez was fatally shot while in the passenger seat of a Jeep on Lake Shore Drive. Lopez was in the vehicle with a 28-year-old man when a black Nissan drove beside them, and someone inside opened fire, according to authorities. The man was able to drive to Presence Saint Joseph Hospital. Subsequently, Lopez was transferred to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where she was declared dead at 2:59 a.m.
Damien Cionzynski, 23, was engaged in a fight with two other men at 5:15 a.m. inside a business when he was fatally shot in the head. Cionzynski had already succumbed to his wound when authorities arrived at the 6300 block of West Montrose. Within hours of Cionzynski’s shooting, Chicago police responded to the shooting of Garvin Whitmore, 27. Whitmore was sitting in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with Ashley Harrison, 26, when someone approached the vehicle on foot and shot Whitmore in the head. The incident occurred in the 200 block of West Root on the South Side of the city. After Whitmore was killed, Harrison exited the vehicle and fired several rounds as the shooter fled. No one else was injured. When authorities arrived, Harrison was charged with unlawful use of a firearm without a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. Harrison is being held on a $250,000 bond.
Over 50 more people were shot during the holiday weekend in Chicago. The number of shootings sets a new record for violence in a single weekend in the city. The police superintendent expressed concern regarding the number of guns in the city and the amount of people willing to use them to ABC7 News.
By Gichele Cocrelle
Edited by Cathy Milne
ABC7 News: 8 Dead, At Least 57 Shot In Memorial Day Weekend Shootings
Chicago Tribune: Memorial Day Weekend Shootings Add to a Violent to a Violent May in Chicago
NBC Chicago: More than 60 Shot in Chicago Memorial Day Weekend Violence
Top and Featured Photo by Derek Bridges’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Photo Courtesy of Michael Kappel’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License