The Chicago Tribune
Chicago reached "a tragic number" today, according to Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy: Its homicide total for the year hit 500, the highest annual total since 2008.
The city's latest homicide occurred around 9pm Thursday when Nathaniel T. Jackson, 40, an alleged gang member with a lengthy arrest record, was gunned down outside a store in the Austin neighborhood.
As of Thursday night, homicides were up 17 percent over last year in Chicago and shootings had increased by 11 percent, according to police statistics. Earlier this fall, Chicago already exceeded the number of homicides that occurred last year, but this is the first time the city has had 500 or more murders since the 512 in 2008.
Largely contributing to the spike was the unusual number of homicides that occurred during the early part of the year, when the city experienced unseasonable warmth. In the first three months of the year, homicides ran about 60 percent ahead of the 2011 rate.
The police department went back and forth for much of Friday over whether Jackson was the 500th murder so far this year, at first confirming it, and then denying it, saying a murder last week had been reclassified as a death investigation, therefore making Jackson the 499th homicide. But by late afternoon, the department once again confirmed there had been 500 murders.
McCarthy issued a statement declaring: "The city has seen its 500th homicide for 2012, a tragic number that is reflective of the gang violence and proliferation of illegal guns that have plagued some of our neighborhoods."
While saying every homicide is unacceptable, he went on to laud the department's overall crime reduction.
He also said that gang violence reduction strategies the department adopted this year have slowed the increase in violence.
Jackson was shot in the head outside Noah Foods at Augusta Boulevard and Lavergne Avenue, police said. Afterward, police tapped on apartment windows and knocked on doors looking for witnesses.
A few bullet casings, which police believed were from a .45-caliber handgun, were found near the blood-stained sidewalk in front of the store. Police had no motive, and no one was in custody.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 12/28/2012
Editor's Note: This key text here is "illegal guns." Most gang crime is not committed with "legal guns," but with guns attained by criminals; criminals who will attain weapons regardless of laws against them. To wit, Chicago has had a ban on handgun ownership for as long as I can remember and I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. So, if gun laws are so effective, why id Chicago the murder capitol of the United States...and, perhaps, the world?
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