- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Seven people were killed and at least 52 were wounded by gunfire during another violent weekend in Chicago.

The toll brings the number of people shot in Chicago this year to nearly 2,200, including at least 329 fatalities, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Chicago Police Department reportedly stepped up patrols last month in preparation for a summer crime spike. First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante said commanders met Monday to discuss a plan for this week, the Tribune reported.

“The courts, our state legislators, other community activists” need to step up and help the police “hold people accountable for their gun violence,” he told reporters at police headquarters.

Officer Escalante cited Sunday’s killing of 38-year-old Raygene Jackson, who was paroled last year after serving 10 years of his 46-year prison sentence for murder.

“How and why he’s on the street, I don’t know,” Officer Escalante said. “But if he was still serving his sentence, he wouldn’t be a murder victim right now.”

He also mentioned 20-year-old Carlos Harding, who was killed Sunday in a double shooting in Austin. Mr. Harding reportedly had a record of 61 arrests.

“Sixty-one arrests at the age of 20,” Officer Escalante told the Tribune. “That’s the frustration we deal with. He has, and I believe it is correct but we’ll double check, he has 20 convictions. Now granted, most of them are low-level misdemeanors, but he has 20 convictions at the age of 20 years old.

“So no matter what plans and strategies we put in place — and I do believe we put good plans and strategies in place each week and each weekend — until we get everyone else, whether it’s the courts, our state legislators, other community activists, to step up with us and hold people accountable for their gun violence, we’re going to continue to see it, unfortunately,” he said. “And unfortunately, it may impact the same communities no matter what we try to do.”

The most violent stretch of the weekend was late Saturday through early Sunday, when at least 22 people were shot, three of them fatally, including 15-year-old Travon D. Smith, the Tribune reported.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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