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18 people were killed in Chicago in deadliest day in 60 years

An SUV of the Chicago Police Dept. (Zol87/Flickr)
June 09, 2020

Chicago saw its deadliest day in 60 years on Sunday, May 31 as 18 residents were murdered in a single day.

In a Monday report, the Chicago Sun-Times totaled up the 18 murders from the previous weekend. Based on data from the University of Chicago Crime Lab, the paper concluded May 31 was the deadliest day in six decades. Over the entire weekend, starting Friday evening and running until 11 p.m. Sunday night, a total of 25 people were killed and another 85 were wounded by gunfire.

The previous deadliest day for Chicago was on Aug. 4, 1991, when 13 people were killed.

The particularly violent weekend coincided with mass demonstrations following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. Demonstrations, which spread to cities around the country, included both peaceful protests as well as destructive looting and rioting.

Angelo Bronson, a 36-year-old father of two, was one of those shot and killed in the city on May 31. Bronson was visiting from out of town, with plans to see his family, when he was struck in the chest by gunfire from a passing car. He died less than an hour later.

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Josh Tiggs, 32, a father of three was shot and killed while going to pay his phone bill at a local Metro PCS store. A 15-year-old boy was also injured in the shooting attack. Police reportedly arrested two suspects in the shooting, but they were later released without charges.

Rev. Michael Pfleger, who leads St. Sabina Church in Auburn Gresham, said he saw many emergency calls going unanswered over the deadly weekend.

“On Saturday and particularly Sunday, I heard people saying all over, ‘Hey, there’s no police anywhere, police ain’t doing nothing,’” Pfleger said.

“I sat and watched a store looted for over an hour,” he said. “No police came. I got in my car and drove around to some other places getting looted [and] didn’t see police anywhere.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on May 31, Chicago’s 911 line received 65,000 calls for all types of services. A typical day in Chicago will see about 15,000 calls; about 50,000 fewer than were received that day.

Teyonna Lofton, 18, of the Gresham neighborhood, was celebrating her high school graduation on the day she and two others waiting in a line outside a gas station were struck by a drive-by shooting. She told the Chicago Sun-Times she waited for emergency responders but eventually called her mother to pick her up and take her to the hospital.

“When I needed help, to call the police and stuff, nobody responded. Nobody answered,” Lofton told the Chicago Sun-Times. “My mom had to come from home, and we had to get to the hospital.”

Two other 18-year-old women, Lazarra Daniels and Keishanay Bolden were also shot over the weekend. Both women died.

Dionte Jelks told the Chicago Sun-Times he lost his younger brother Darius Jelks, 31 and his cousin Maurice Jelks, 39 on Sunday. His brother and cousin were reportedly driving together to his mother’s home when someone in a dark-colored SUV opened fire and shot both men in the head.

Jelks, who has moved to Canada, described Chicago’s violence as worse than that of a third world country.

“My wife is from El Salvador. I felt more safe in El Salvador than I felt on the South Side of Chicago. And that’s a third-world country,” Jelks said.

Gregory Lewis, 21, was one of six people killed on Saturday, May 30. He was killed early Saturday morning.

Danyal Jones, 30, was another woman killed over the deadly weekend. She was reportedly standing on her front porch when a man walked up and fired shots. She was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.