The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Police Respond To 'Unacceptable' Violence As 40 Shot So Far This Weekend

By Joe Ward | May 29, 2016 11:00am
 Deputy Supt. John Escalante talks about the difficulty officers face while patrolling Memorial Day Weekend.
Deputy Supt. John Escalante talks about the difficulty officers face while patrolling Memorial Day Weekend.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Joe Ward

IRVING PARK — After participating in "faith in action" events Friday, thousands of officers working this Memorial Day weekend went on to face a violent start to the holiday.

Since then, at least 40 people have been shot in the city, including a 15-year-old girl shot dead while riding as a passenger on Lake Shore Drive and the fatal shooting of a man at a Dunning gas station.

Deputy Supt. John Escalante pointed out those two cases at a Sunday morning press conference to highlight the issues officers face: a confluence of guns and a small but violent community of criminals.

"It's a big city and it's a safe city," Escalante said. "It's about 1,500 people driving this violence. I'm confident we'll be able to turn this around."

The Police Department had asked officers to volunteer for overtime shifts in anticipation of a busy Memorial Day weekend. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said "several thousand" officers were on patrol, but did not say how many were on overtime.

Announcing their plans for additional officers, Supt. Eddie Johnson said police would have a heavy presence in high-crime areas as well as neighborhood parks, beaches and on Lake Shore Drive.

The teenage girl shot dead while driving on Lake Shore Drive shows what can happen when guns get into the hands of the wrong people, Escalante said.

Escalante said the girl was with a 28-year-old woman and two men, who are documented gang members. He said she was "by all accounts a good girl with the wrong people."

The car carrying the 15-year-old had some kind of "encounter" with another car on Lake Shore, and police are not sure if it is a case of road rage or if it is gang related.

"We definitely don't believe this was a random act," Escalante said.

At least two shootings have occurred on Lake Shore Drive this week alone, as expressway shooting occurrences continue to rise in the city. Early Sunday morning, two women were shot on the Dan Ryan Expressway, Escalante said.

Despite the increase in highway shootings, Escalante said the roadways are safe for the overwhelming majority of the public. [City expressways are patrolled by state police.]

"It's a concern to all of us," Escalante said. "We want to assure the people, [Lake Shore Drive] is a beautiful route to drive and it's a safe route to drive."

Escalante said the department would shift resources Sunday night to address issues that arose over the weekend. Despite their heavy workload, he said the department is committed to routing out violence.

"We are motivated by the people we saw Friday," at the Faith and Action events, Escalante said.

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: