Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Black-on-Black Violence Surges Over Memorial Day Weekend

At CBS News Baltimore, "29 Shootings, 9 Fatal, Over Memorial Day Weekend In Baltimore."

Also at Bloviating Zeppelin, "Baltimore black-on-black murders since Gray: where are the riots?"

And see USA Today, "Baltimore, other cities see violent holiday weekend":
Violence surged in major U.S. cities over Memorial Day weekend, bringing new highs for homicides in Chicago and Baltimore after years of declining crime.

Nine murders and nearly 30 shootings over the weekend brought Baltimore's monthly homicide toll to its highest point in more than 15 years, taxing a city and police department already pushed to its limits after rioting last month.

Baltimore logged a record 35 homicides as of Tuesday, the most in a single month since 1999. This year, the city has had 108 homicides.

"I've never seen anything like it," City Councilman William "Pete" Welch told The (Baltimore) Sun. "The shootings and killings are all over the city."

The Memorial Day weekend was also a bloody one in Chicago, where at least 12 people were killed and 44 were wounded in gun violence from Friday night to Tuesday morning. The rash of violence continues a trend of killings and shootings that began this year after the city recorded the fewest homicides in decades last year.

The weekend's wounded include Jacele Johnson, 4, shot in the head Friday evening as she sat in a car on the South Side with a 17-year-old cousin, who was shot in the chest. On the city's West Side, a 17-year-old boy was shot in the back and the leg.

About two hours earlier, a 19-year-old man was gunned down two blocks from Chicago Police Headquarters, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Even before this weekend's incidents, murders were up 17% and non-fatal shootings had jumped 24% from the same time last year, according to Chicago Police Department statistics. The city has recorded 133 homicides this year as of May 17 compared with 114 at the same time last year. There have been 693 shootings this year compared with 560 at the same time last year.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who won re-election in April, touted the strides Chicago has made under his watch in reducing the number of homicides. The nation's third-largest city had 407 murders last year, the city's fewest in five decades.

After seeing crime drop sharply in the first half of 2014, St. Louis saw a steep rise in violence in several neighborhoods as protests grew, following the shooting death of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson by police officer Darren Wilson. By year's end, St. Louis logged 157 homicides, the city's highest yearly toll since 2008.

The problem has persisted this year as well: Homicides went up 6% for the first quarter of 2015 compared with the same period last year.

Police Chief Sam Dotson said he noted a decrease in police-initiated interactions with residents in the midst of the worst protests in the St. Louis area in the weeks after Brown's killing in August. Police also were less active in November after the St. Louis County prosecutor announced Wilson wouldn't face criminal charges.

In Baltimore, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts wrote a letter to community leaders Monday, acknowledging the disintegrating relationship between police and the community. He said the police would move "aggressively" to address the violence.

Baltimore, he wrote, is "in the midst of a challenging time. Following a period of civil unrest, we have been experiencing an increase of the pace of violent crime, most notably homicides and shootings."
Plus, more at Fox News, with Megyn Kelly and Dana Loesch, "White House Suggests More Gun Control Is the Answer to Spike In Violence - The Kelly File."