Chiraq? Chicago Violence, 45 Shot Over Weekend, Earns City a Nickname

Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 06:19 PM

By Jonna Lorenz

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Gun violence plagued Chicago during Easter weekend, when 45 people were shot in the city, earning it the nickname "Chiraq."

At least nine people were killed, bringing the city’s total count of suspected homicides this year to 90.

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Victims of the weekend’s shootings included six children. Five children ages 11 to 15 were shot near a playground when a car pulled up and opened fire after someone inside asked if they were in a gang, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The youngest, an 11-year-old girl, was in critical condition but is expected to survive.

FBI Director James Comey blamed the city’s gang culture for the violence, and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said guns are the problem, The Daily Beast reported. Chicago police officers have seized 1,500 illegal guns so far this year.

Last year, the city recorded 415 homicides, the lowest number in 50 years, following a spike to 516 in 2012.

“This doesn’t wipe out what has happened over the last two years, and this is a conversation that we’ve had time and time again,” McCarthy said, according to CBS 2. “There’s no magic formula here. We have a plan, we have a strategy, and it’s hard work.

A newly formed federal Violent Crimes unit will focus on how to use federal statutes to fight gang and gun violence in the city.

Twitter users sounded off about the violence and the city’s image.

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