Chicago police say they will not be defeated after an unusually violent weekend that saw at least 34 people shot in the city in just 24 hours.
Five of those victims died, including a 17-year-old girl who was shot in the face.
“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” a policeman told the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper. “It’s hot right now. There’s a lot of tension … and it might get worse.”
The officer says overheard people talking on their cellphones, planning revenge attacks and urging others to also get even (take revenge).
Families crowded into the emergency room of one of the city’s busiest hospitals between Saturday morning and early Sunday when the 34 shootings were reported. The youngest victim was an 11-year-old boy.
Hundreds of demonstrators blocked a major Chicago highway last week to protest gun violence and demand Mayor Rahm Emanuel resign.
The mayor has not yet commented on the weekend violence but has called for more gun control measures, not only in Chicago but throughout Illinois.
Police blame the gun violence not just on the large number of weapons on the streets, but also what they say is the belief by gang members that they can gun down a rival and get away with it.
More than 300 people have been shot to death in Chicago so far this year, the most of any U.S. city.
But police say that is 25 percent fewer incidents than the same time last year, and say 5,500 illegal guns have been confiscated since January.