10 hurt in Chicago weekend shootings amid virus outbreak

March 23, 2020 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — Ten people were shot during weekend attacks on Chicago’s South and West sides, despite a statewide order that took effect requiring people to stay indoors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the 10 people who were shot died , the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Last year, four people were killed and 10 others were wounded in shootings over the course of the same weekend.

“Our response is identical to what it was a year ago,” police spokesman Anthony Gugielmi told the newspaper. “We will not diminish our ability to respond to violence in the city because we have a crime fight that we’re in right now, and every single day it’s very important to us to try to make the city safer.”

The lone weekend homicide in the nation’s third largest city happened early Sunday, when a 30-year-old man was shot several times in the South Side neighborhood of Bridgeport, police reported. Guglielmi said the shooting appeared to be gang-related.

That shooting was the city’s first since Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order to stay at home took effect Saturday evening. The directive, which will last through April 7, requires the state’s 12.6 million residents to remain in their homes, except for essentials, joining similar efforts in California, New York and elsewhere to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

Guglielmi said he anticipates seeing a rise in gun arrests and seizures during street stops following the governor’s order, but added that officers are “not looking to arrest the entire city of Chicago.”

“We are not trying to make this a police issue. This is very much a public health issue,” he said. “In order to stop the spread of this virus, we’ve got to contain it.”

Illinois’ health officials announced 296 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including an infant, bringing the statewide total to 1,049. The Illinois Department of Public Health also announced three more deaths, bringing the total to nine.