By Stacy St. Clair
A man was shot dead near a raucous outdoor holiday party in the South Shore neighborhood late Monday night, bringing the number of homicides to 10 during a warm and violent Memorial Day weekend.
More than 40 shootings were reported during the four-day weekend. The city has had more homicides and shootings so far in 2012 than during the same time last year, according to unofficial briefing summaries prepared by the Chicago Police Department.
A department spokesman would not confirm the tally, saying several incidents were still under investigation and could not be classified at this time.
According to the summaries, there have been at least 200 homicides so far this year compared with 134 during the same period in 2011. That’s a 49.25 percent increase over last year.
On Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy held a news conference where they discussed two new crime reduction strategies.
The 10 people killed over the long weekend outnumber the four reported slain during the 2011 holiday weekend, when severe storms hit the Chicago area and forced many people inside.
Shootings are up nearly 14 percent over last year, according to the unofficial summaries. There have been 851 shootings so far in 2012 compared with 747 during the same period in 2011, the police data showed.
The seemingly worsening violence comes as the Emanuel administration touts its efforts to combat gang crime and add officers and resources to some of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods.
Experts have cautioned that crime statistics from only a few months can be misleading and noted that in recent years, Chicago has been at historic lows for homicides.
In 2008, the city saw similar spikes early in the year and ended up with more than 500 homicides, the only time that has happened in the last nine years.
In the Monday night incident, two men ages 21 and 33 were shot on the street in the 1700 block of East 68th Street just before 10 p.m., police said, citing early reports.
The older victim, Malcolm Dowdy, of the 8600 block of South Euclid Avenue, was taken to Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
The second victim was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the back.
Both men were guests of large annual Memorial Day party, police said. Two neighbors said they heard a loud argument just before shots rang out.
The gunshots touched off a frantic escape by partygoers, including one motorist who sped the wrong way on a one-way street, they said.
The death toll could increase if an unidentified woman found dead in the basement of an abandoned building in the 1500 S. Sawyer Avenue on Monday is determined to have been slain during the weekend.
An autopsy on the woman is scheduled for Tuesday.