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Miserable milestone: Chicago surpasses 600 homicides this year

With still more than two months to go before the end of the year, Chicago’s 2016 homicide total reached 600 on Monday, keeping in line with the city’s 32 percent uptick in homicides and non-fatal shootings compared to the same time last year.

Another killing occurred Tuesday morning in West Pullman, bringing the city’s homicide count to 601. Last year, 486 homicides were recorded citywide.

The 600th killing occurred Monday night in Englewood, which has seen 45 homicides so far this year.

Ronald McBee, 24, had been fighting with another male over a gun about 10:40 p.m. in the 7300 block of South Morgan. Eventually, the other male got control of the weapon and shot McBee, who lived on the same block, according to police and the medical examiner’s office. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

McBee’s murder came on a bloody night on the South Side. A mass shooting occurred just a couple miles away, with one man killed and four other people, including a 13-year-old boy, seriously wounded in the 6700 block of South Winchester in West Englewood. 

Last year, four men were wounded in a shooting on the very same block, a sign of the violence plaguing neighborhoods on the South and West sides.

The overwhelming majority of homicide victims this year — 540 people — have died of gunshot wounds, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Another 28 have been stabbed to death.

There also have been 19 people beaten to death, nine arson-related homicides, three child-abuse killings and two people killed when after they were willfully run down by people driving cars.

The Chicago Police Department investigates most — but not all — of the homicide cases; expressway shootings are handled by the Illinois State Police.

As of mid-October, Chicago police had made arrests in 115 of the killings this year.

In an emailed statement Tuesday, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson put much of the blame for the city’s increase in gun violence on “repeat gun offenders.”

“While we have increased our enforcement efforts this month — including arrests for murder and illegal gun confiscations — the lack of accountability for repeat gun offenders is sickening and it continues to drive the cycle of violence in Chicago,” Johnson said.

“We are investing in a strategy centered around adding more expanding the size of the department, building a partnership with residents and working with legislators to ensure our sentencing laws help keep repeat gun offenders in jail where they belong,” Johnson added.

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