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August Was Chicago’s Deadliest Month in Two Decades

Chicago Gun Violence: On the Front Lines of a City Under Siege 2:52

Ninety homicides, 384 shooting incidents, 472 shooting victims — that awful arithmetic made August the deadliest month in Chicago in more than 20 years.

And as the city was digesting those grim statistics, there was a triple shooting in broad daylight Thursday on the west side that sent two adults and a 10-year-old girl to the hospital.

Image: Chicago Monthly Homicide Rate Hits Highest Level In 20 Years
A Chicago police officer stands at the crime scene of a fatal shooting where a man was shot in the head in the 7300 block of South Rockwell Street on August 31, in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago has seen over 80 people killed and over 400 people shot and wounded during the month of August, making it the most violent month in 20 years. Joshua Lott / Getty Images

"The historical cycle of violence we have seen in some communities must come to an end," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement Thursday. "Repeat gun offenders who drive the violence on our streets should not be there in the first place and it is time to changes the laws to ensure these violent offenders are held accountable for their crimes."

Five districts on the south and west sides of the city accounted for almost all of the killings that made August the deadliest month since June 1996, police said.

Chicago's Street Disciple Stepping In to Stop the Violence 4:47

Among the victims was Nykea Aldridge, a cousin of NBA star Dwayne Wade, who was felled by a stray bullet while she was pushing her baby in a stroller near a southside school.

Related: Chicago's Street Disciple Leads Summer Crusade Against Gun Violence

Father Michael Pfleger, an activist priest whose Saint Sabina parish is less than a mile from one of the city’s most violent south side neighborhoods, once again called on Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to declare “a state of emergency” in Chicago.

Persistent poverty and hopelessness is the reason for the murder and mayhem in the mostly African-American communities on the south and west sides, Pfleger told NBC News on Thursday.

“If you put two lions in a cage and don’t feed them, in a month one of them is going to be dead,” he said. “You have segregated neighborhoods where there is enormous poverty, where there are no jobs, which look like third world countries. Well, guess what, it’s survival of the fittest.”

Image: Vigil Held For Dwyane Wade Cousin Killed In Chicago Shooting
People attend a prayer vigil for Nykea Aldridge outside Willie Mae Morris Empowerment Center on August 28, in Chicago, Illinois. Joshua Lott / Getty Images

In an interview with NBC Chicago, Johnson dismissed the idea of bringing in the National Guard, as some lawmakers have urged.

Instead, Johnson repeated his call for imposing higher sentences on repeat gun offenders.

"I'm sick and tired of it and everybody in Chicago should be sick and tired of it," Johnson said.