While Chicago has sadly become synonymous with violent crime in recent years, May 31 was exceptionally bloody, with some 18 people murdered over the course of just 24 hours, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
According to the New York Post, that spate of killings made for the Windy City’s deadliest day in at least six decades.
“We’ve never seen anything like it, at all,” said Max Kapustin, who serves as a senior researcher at the University of Chicago Crime Lab, and who confessed to the Sun-Times that he didn’t “even know how to put it into context,” adding, “It’s beyond anything that we’ve ever seen before.”
When or even if there had ever been so much violence in such a short period of time is unknown, as comprehensive homicide records only go back to 1961. The only day on record that even comes close is Aug. 4, of 1991, which saw 13 people killed, the Post noted.
The Sun-Times also quoted a local clergyman who pointed to the lack of police presence on the fateful day in question.
“On Saturday and particularly Sunday, I heard people saying all over, ‘Hey, there’s no police anywhere, police ain’t doing nothing,'” the Rev. Michael Pfleger told the paper.
“I sat and watched a store looted for over an hour,” he continued. “No police came. I got in my car and drove around to some other places getting looted [and] didn’t see police anywhere.”
Alderman: Chicago is “the wild, wild west”
Like many cities, Chicago has seen its share of violent rioting following the death of George Floyd in late May, and it appears to have been too much for police to handle.
According to National Review, the crisis led to a harsh exchange of words during a conference call between Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and a number of city aldermen.
“I feel like I am at ground zero,” local PBS affiliate WTTW quoted 8th Ward Ald. Michelle Harris as saying to Lightfoot. “It’s like, what are we going to have left in our community?”
Emma Mitts, 37th Ward alderman, was also alarmed by what was playing out on Chicago’s streets, comparing her city to “the wild, wild west.”
The strongest language, as National Review noted, came from 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez, who used profanity towards the mayor when she dismissed the characterization of his own ward as “a virtual war zone.”