- The Washington Times - Monday, April 21, 2008

CHICAGO (AP) — An epidemic of gunfire rattled the city during the weekend, with at least 32 people shot and six killed.

Police Superintendent Jody Weis blamed an excess of guns and gangs for the rash of violence.

“There are just too many weapons here,” Weis said at a news conference yesterday. “Too many guns, too many gangs.”

At the time of that news conference, the toll was 26 separate shootings and four deaths. Later, three more shootings were reported within two hours on the West Side late yesterday and early today, resulting in two more deaths and four more people wounded, police said.

The other weekend shootings were scattered all over the city. Police said they included gang shootings, drive-by attacks, and even one case in which someone used an AK-47 to shoot up a plumbing supply store.

Authorities did not immediately say whether any of the shootings were thought to be related.

During the same weekend last year, there were 19 shootings, including four homicides, and 21 shootings were reported during the same weekend in 2006, Chicago police statistics show.

Ironically, on Saturday, the police department issued new statistics showing that the city’s murder rate for March was down about 1 percent from March 2007.

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