After weekend Chicago gun violence left at least 16 dead, including two children, and 50 others wounded, the city's top cop said Monday that extra officers will hit the streets for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend.
An additional 1,200 Chicago police officers will be added beginning Thursday and through Sunday, Supt. David Brown said, calling the department's holiday weekend strategy "a full court press."
"Our endgame is arrests," Brown said, noting officers will focus on street corners that he said fuel the city's open-air drug market and create "the pipeline for shootings and murders in Chicago."
Brown called on the criminal justice system for help to keep violent offenders arrested by police in jail through Sunday.
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"When we clear a corner, we're pleading to the court system: keep them in jail through the weekend," he said.
This past weekend, two children, a 1-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, were killed in separate shootings on Saturday, police said.
Sincere Gaston was shot and killed in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood at around 2 p.m. Saturday. According to police, Sincere and his mother were riding in a car on South Halstead Street near West 60th Place when a car pulled up alongside their vehicle and a person inside began shooting, ultimately firing at least seven shots.
The 10-year-old girl, Lina Nunez, was inside an apartment at about 9:40 p.m. in the 3500 block of West Dickens Avenue when the bullet came through a window and struck her in the head, Chicago police said.
Neighbors said they heard gunfire but believed it was fireworks, according to police, who said the shots may have come from a group of males who began firing at another group on the block.
Chicago Police on Monday called for the community to reach out with any information on either murder.
"As a dad standing alongside other parents," Brown said Monday, "I struggle to make sense of the reckless gun violence that continues to take the lives of our young people throughout the city."
The increase in officers for the holiday weekend comes amid nationwide calls to "defund" police. Chicago's Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday said she doesn't believe a majority of those calls want complete removal of police, but she acknowledged "we need to make more better strategic investments to support healthy communities."
"In a time when we're seeing record levels of shootings and homicides across our city, it's a little daunting to be thinking about just slashing police budgets, because the reality of that is cutting personnel," Lightfoot said. "And given that we haven't historically done what we need to around diversity, if we literally did that, that would mean cutting the most junior, the most well-trained and the most diverse members of the police department."