- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A violent Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, followed by the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy Tuesday night, concluded the deadliest May the city has seen in more than two decades.

A drive-by shooting in a South Chicago neighborhood took the life of Fabian Lavinder, making him the 66th homicide victim in the city in May, the Chicago Tribune reported. The last May the city saw more killings was in 1995, when 75 people were murdered, the newspaper reported.

The killing topped off a busy Memorial Day weekend for Chicago police, who stepped up patrols over the three-day weekend. Police reported that 69 people were shot, six fatally, from Friday afternoon to Monday evening.

A homicide tally kept by the Tribune also shows that more people were killed in May than any other month in either 2016 or 2015.

Addressing the weekend’s violence, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson lamented the cycle of violence prevalent in some neighborhoods.

“Gang culture starts almost at birth for some kids,” he said during an address Tuesday to civic leaders at the City Club of Chicago. “By the time they are 12, their destiny is set. It’s either prison or death.”

But Superintendent Johnson, who was appointed to the post in March, noted that police are stepping up surveillance of known gang members believed to be most closely associated with the violence.

The department keeps a watch list of 1,400 people that police believe may be most likely to shoot someone or be shot, basing the predictions on arrest histories, gang affiliations and other data.

Of the 69 people shot over the holiday weekend, Superintendent Johnson said 80 percent were on the department’s Strategic Subject List.

A police bust two weeks ago took 140 individuals who were on the list off the streets, and Superintendent Johnson promised more targeted enforcement in the months ahead. He also touted the importance of getting guns off city streets, adding that the department is working with federal agencies on that goal.

“We continue to work with other agencies to strengthen enforcement of gun crimes because that is the key to reducing shootings,” Superintendent Johnson said.

Police have taken more than 3,500 guns off Chicago streets thus far in 2016, he said.

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