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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.
"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.
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.
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.”
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.