Two people were killed and 30 others injured in mass shootings overnight in 3 nations, authorities said Saturday, stoking concerns that a spike in U.S. gun violence might continue in summer as coronavirus restrictions ease and more folks are free to socialize.
In Austin, authorities said they arrested one of two male suspects and were searching for the other after a shooting early Saturday to a busy pedestrian-only street packed with bars and restaurants. Fourteen people were injured, including two seriously, in the gunfire, which the town’s interim police chief said is thought to have started as a dispute between two parties.
No arrests were reported by late Saturday at the two other shootings.
Back in Chicago, a woman was killed and nine other people were injured when two men opened fire on a group position on a sidewalk in the Chatham area on the city’s South Side.
From the south Georgia city of Savannah, authorities said one man was killed and seven other people were wounded in a mass shooting Friday evening, authorities said. Two of those wounded are children — an 18-month-old along with a 13-year-old.
Savannah’s police chief, Roy Minter, Jr., said the shooting may be linked to an ongoing dispute between two groups, mentioning reports of gunshots being fired at precisely the exact same apartment complex earlier in the week.
“It is very disturbing what we’re seeing across the country and the degree of gun violence that we are seeing across the nation,” he told reporters Saturday. “It is disturbing and it is senseless.”
The attacks come amid an easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in much of the nation, such as Chicago, which lifted many of its staying defenses on Friday. Many hoped that a spike in U.S. shootings and homicides last year was an aberration possibly caused by pandemic-related stress amid a rise in gun ownership and debate over policing. However, those rates are still higher than they had been in pre-pandemic times, including in cities that refused to slash police spending after the death of George Floyd and people that made modest cuts.
“That hasn’t happened. And that is what really makes chiefs worry that we may be entering a new phase where we’ll observe a reversal of 20 decades of declines in those offenses.”
Tracking ups and downs in offense is obviously complicated, but violent offense generally increases in the summertime. Weekend evenings and early-morning hours also are typical windows for shootings.
Various kinds of crime did decline in 2020 and have stayed lower this year, suggesting the pandemic and the activism and unrest spurred by the reaction to Floyd’s death did not result in an overall spike in crime.
According to a database published by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University, only three mass shootings occurred at public places — the cheapest total for this class in a decade — from 19 total mass shootings in 2020.
The database monitors all mass killings such as shootings, defined as four or more people dead not like the perpetrator.
According to that definition, there have been 17 mass killings, 16 of those shootings, already this season, said James Alan Fox, a criminologist and professor at Northeastern University.
The Gun Violence Archive, which tracks media and police reports to track gun violence, defines mass shootings as those involving four or more people who were shot, whether or not they expired. In general, according to its database, more than 8,700 people have died of gun violence at the U.S. this year.
The GVA also found that mass shootings spiked in 2020 to approximately 600, which was greater than in any of the previous six years it tracked the statistic. In accordance with this year’s count, there have been 267 mass shootings in the U.S. so much, including the hottest three overnight Friday into Saturday.
“It’s painful,” Fox explained. “We’ve got a blend of individuals beginning to get out and about in public. We have a lot of divisiveness. And we have more guns and warm weather. It is a potentially fatal mix.”