Fourth Of July Took A Bloody Turn As Gun Violence Killed At Least 150 Over The Weekend

July 6, 2021

By a Biometrica staffer

There were over 400 shootings across the country during the Fourth of July weekend, which ended up claiming the lives of at least 150 people, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), a CNN report said. It was just over two weeks ago that we wrote about how a weekend filled with Juneteenth celebrations ended up being marred by shootings. And here we are, once again writing about a weekend that’s been ridden with reports of gun violence, from New York to Illinois, from Atlanta to Texas.

Over two dozen people became victims in New York over the Fourth of July weekend, part of a wider surge in gun violence across major cities in the U.S., including a victim who was allegedly shot at point-blank range, the New York Post reported. There were at least 26 people shot in New York across 21 separate incidents between Friday, July 2, and Sunday, July 4, and three more shootings were reported early on Monday, July 5, the report added.

When it comes to New York, the number of shootings is down from last year where police had reported 25 gun-related incidents and 30 victims over the same holiday weekend, the New York Post article said. However, on a yearly basis, gun violence incidents have spiked 40% from the start of the year compared with the same period in 2020, CNN said in its report.

In Chicago, at least 82 people were shot — 14 of them fatally — since 5 p.m. Friday, CBS reported on Monday. In comparison, over the Independence Day weekend in 2019, there were at least 68 people shot, five fatally, while in 2020, there were around 80 people shot and 15 killed. Among the incidents this year was one of a 40-year-old man who was allegedly shot several times in the torso by his neighbor for playing music at night, the report added. The man is said to have been pronounced dead on the scene. Although Chicago’s homicide rate through June is 2% lower than that in the same period in 2020, the number of victims is 14% higher, CNN said.

Also among the victims of gun violence in Chicago was a 19-year-old National Guard soldier. Chrys Carvajal, who was identified by his family but whose death was not yet confirmed by the medical examiner as of Monday, was gunned down while he was leaving a party on Saturday, July 3, in a drive-by shooting in the city’s Belmont-Cragin neighborhood. In a separate incident, two Chicago police officers were also injured in an overnight shooting. On Monday, the police department tweeted that both officers were transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, professional golfer Gene Siller was shot and killed at Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw, Georgia, and two other men were found dead inside the bed of a pickup truck on the golf course. Siller, who was an employee of the club, was found unresponsive with an apparent gunshot wound to the head, NBC News reported. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Siller, a husband and father of two, was reportedly responding to an issue on the golf course’s tenth hole when a man in a white truck pulled his vehicle onto a sand trap nearby. When Siller went to the truck to talk to the man, he was shot at. The truck, a RAM 3500 pickup vehicle, contained the bodies of two men including the truck’s owner Paul Pierson, and an unidentified third victim. Police are still searching for the shooter.

In a mass shooting incident at Fort Worth, Texas, eight gunshot victims were discovered by the police near a car wash on Sunday. All the victims were transported to local hospitals and were said to be in a stable condition as of Sunday. The shootings appear to have begun after an argument between several men. During the argument, one individual is said to have left the scene, only to come back with a gun. This individual began shooting at several groups of people, and multiple others in the area began to return gunfire.

The Fort Worth police tweeted a media advisory that said most of the victims appear to have been unfortunate innocent bystanders in this exchange of gunfire. Another gun-related crime in Texas over the weekend left three dead and two others injured at Dallas. That shooting happened late on Sunday night.

At a block party in Toledo, Ohio, one person was killed and 11 others were injured after a man allegedly opened fire at the event. The party is reported to have had hundreds of people in attendance and, along with the gunfire, calls to police dispatch claimed that there were nearly 300 people fighting on the street, NBC24 reported. After the first police crew arrived on scene, they requested assistance from all available police units and called out multiple shooters, the report said.

A mass shooting incident is defined as one where four or more people are killed, excluding the shooter. The GVA documents every reported incident of gun violence in the United States, collecting this information from more than 7,500 law enforcement, media, government and commercial sources daily, in an effort to provide near-real time data about the results of gun violence.

Tragically, quite a few of the gun-related incidents of violence over the weekend involved children, and not just in terms of victims. In Norfolk, Virginia four children were shot on Friday afternoon, including a 6-year-old girl who was initially reported to be suffering life-threatening injuries but is now in stable condition. The victims also included a 14-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl, and a 16-year-old boy, all of whom are expected to fully recover., CNN reported. Police said a 15-year-old had been arrested and charged in connection with the incident.

In South Carolina, an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old-boy were charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a 62-year-old man. The police found Danny Andrew Smith unresponsive and slumped over the steering wheel of his tractor, which was still running but had gone down an embankment before striking a tree. Evidence in the investigation shows that the aforementioned juveniles discharged a firearm “in a reckless manner” in the direction of Smith, the victim.

It was just under two weeks ago that the Biden-Harris administration unveiled an extremely detailed plan to combat what President Joe Biden has repeatedly referred to as an “epidemic” of gun violence that is gripping the nation.  The Biden-Harris Comprehensive Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gun Crime and Ensure Public Safety covered everything from stemming the flow of firearms used to commit crimes and supporting local law enforcement officers with tools and resources, to helping formerly incarcerated individuals successfully re-enter society. 

In mid-June, law enforcement officers across the country had expressed alarm at the unrelenting surge in gun violence this year, even before the habitual summer spike got underway. As states continue to lift Covid-19 restrictions, and with more people out in warmer weather, top brass across the country had said back then that they were worried and were looking for solutions. Some cities have bulked up patrols in high-crime neighborhoods, putting rookie officers on the streets and increasing overtime spending.