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Authorities say a peaceful gathering in suburban Chicago turned deadly


Rising gun violence is affecting communities across America. This past weekend, shootings killed and injured people in cities and rural areas spanning from Philadelphia to San Francisco. In Chicago, at least 70 people have been shot over the long holiday weekend. In one incident, one person was killed and 22 others wounded when Juneteenth celebrations turned violent early Sunday at a strip mall parking lot in the suburb of Willowbrook. The White House called the violence a tragedy.

Joining us now with more is Sophie Sherry, reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. Sophie, how violent was this holiday weekend in and around Chicago?

SOPHIE SHERRY: So in the city of Chicago, at least 70 people were shot, like you said. We believe that number is probably close to about 74 at this point. Sadly, 11 of those people have died, making this the most violent weekend thus far this year and one of the deadliest. Just in the city alone, there were four mass shooting incidents where there were more than four victims hurt in a single shooting. And as you mentioned, about 20 miles outside of the city, there was a mass shooting at a Juneteenth celebration, with 23 people shot. And unfortunately, one of those people has died.

MARTÍNEZ: And does anyone know what may have led to those shootings?

SHERRY: So police are still investigating that shooting in the suburb of Willowbrook as to what started it. We know this was a Juneteenth celebration - a celebration that had taken place before on the same grounds in years past. There were about 200 people there. But, unfortunately, police do not yet know what sparked that shooting hours into the celebration that led to 23 wounded. And this wasn't the only event where people were gathered to celebrate. In Chicago, one of those mass shooting events occurred at what was a Father's Day barbecue in a neighborhood on the South Side. And again, police are still looking into what sparked that incident.

MARTÍNEZ: And I hate to do a tale of the tape when it comes to something as awful as this, but, I mean, how does this weekend compare to other weekends? I mean, was this exceedingly violent in comparison?

SHERRY: So far this year, this was exceedingly violent. Seventy-three people shot - or 74 or around what the count is right now - would be the most people shot in a single weekend. Obviously, this was a long weekend, so we're including the Monday holiday. But Memorial Day weekend was also one of the most violent since 2016, with 61 people shot here in the city. But unfortunately, obviously, this past weekend, we saw far more shootings than that.

MARTÍNEZ: And how are city leaders trying to tackle this - trying to figure this out?

SHERRY: Mayor Brandon Johnson spoke at an unrelated event and mentioned that this is going to take an all-hands-on-deck effort - that everyone needs to play a part in working to reduce gun violence - and was certain to touch on that this is an issue of just investment in neighborhoods that's going to take a lot of work and possibly time to correct.

MARTÍNEZ: That's Sophie Sherry, reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. Sophie, thanks.

SHERRY: Thanks so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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