Coalition Analyzes Mass Shootings as Chicago's Homicides Soar
A national bipartisan coalition recently released the results of a comprehensive study on mass shootings across the U.S. Among the analyzed incidents were two in Chicago.
In the wake of Chicago making national headlines for its bloodiest start in more than a decade, a national group published results of a comprehensive study on shootings, which included two incidents within the city's boundaries.
Homicides in Chicago reached 42 at the end of January, which is the highest toll since 2002. There have been zero murders in North Center this year, though a Jan. 8 shooting in the 1300 block of North Sedgwick Street in Old Town, just south of Lincoln Park's border, left a 31-year-old man dead and a 20-year-old man seriously injured.
According to a CBS report published Tuesday, January's homicide number is three times the total of those murdered last month in New York City, which has about one-third of Chicago's population. Huffington Post points out one of the deadliest days—Jan. 29, when the city's temperatures surpassed 60 degrees and three were slain in broad daylight.
Police data shows that the year 2002 recorded 45 homicides in its first 31 days, with shooting victims comprising 82 percent. The Mayors Against Illegal Guns released a comprehensive study Feb. 1 on incidents across the country considered to be mass shootings—"mass" defined as when four or more people were killed using a gun.
The report analyzed 43 mass shootings—nearly one per month—that occurred in 25 states between 2009 and 2013.
It found that:
- Fewer than 1 percent of gun murder victims were killed in incidents that included four or more victims.
- Shooters killed a current or former intimate partner or spouse in at least 40 percent of cases.
- Assault weapons or high-capacity magazines were used in 28 percent of the shootings and when they were, more than twice the number of people were shot.
- No more than 33 percent of the incidents occurred in public places that were so called "gun-free zones".
"These findings challenge some of the conventional wisdom about mass shootings, and the report highlights the areas in which further attention and research are needed," a representative from the bipartisan coalition, which formed in 2006, says in the study.
One of Chicago's "mass" incidents as defined by the study included convicted murderer James A. Larry, 33, of Madison, WI, who was reportedly angry his family would not convert to Islam, as he had done while serving a Wisconsin prison sentence for a weapons conviction.
He traveled to Marquette Park in April 2010 and used a shotgun to slay his mother, pregnant wife, infant son and two nieces, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
The other shooting—in September 2010—reportedly involved Raul Segura-Rodriguez, 36. Police say he murdered four people, execution style, in a garage in the 6100 block of South Kildare Avenue in West Lawn. Officials say he was part of a drug-trafficking crew that had been involved in at least 10 other killings, according to the report.
Chicago currently has some of the strictest gun laws on the books, according to the Huffinton Post, but police data reported by the New York Times shows that more than 15,000 of the police-traced guns came from just outside the city limits as well as from neighboring towns that permit gun stores.
"Guns in Chicago flow from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam," Huffington Post reports. "The majority of guns come to Chicago from other areas in Illinois, but a large portion also come from southern states."
North Side Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05) introduced the Trafficking Reduction and Criminal Enforcement Act last week, which cracks down on the illegal gun market by improving gun tracking data. The bill also repeals the Tiahrt Amendments, which hamper law enforcement’s pursuit of criminals who buy and sell illegal guns.
“The TRACE Act is the type of commonsense gun control reform we need to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people,” Quigley said. “Our law enforcement officials face a sea of illegal weapons flooding our streets, but the TRACE Act will close the loopholes that allow criminals to obtain illicit guns and choke off the supply to traffickers.”
Local 43rd Ward Ald. Michele Smith asked that residents "get serious about gun control."
"I, like you, have watched with shock, sadness, and anger as instances of gun violence continue to rock our country," she said, in a statement, later endorsing Emanuel's new gun control legislation which includes stiffer penalties for breaking the laws. "As a parent, I feel that more needs to be done. As a former federal prosecutor and a current member of a legislative body, I know how we must begin."
Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy recently met with President Barack Obama and top cabinet members, after which he told ABC, "There seems to be a consensus among police—and a popular consensus—that the reasonableness of gun laws has to be examined."
McCarthy held a press conference afterward, in which ABC recorded him as saying that within the first three weeks of the month, "two of Chicago's 22 police districts seized more illegal guns than were collected in all of New York City."