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2 Chicago PD officers shot, injured while dispersing July 4 fireworks crowd

By
Don Jacobson

July 5 (UPI) -- Two Chicago police officers were shot and injured while trying to break up a crowd during a Fourth of July celebration in the city, authorities said Monday.

Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown said in a tweet that the two officers "will be all right" after the confrontation early Monday in city's 15th District, which encompasses the Austin neighborhood on Chicago's West Side.

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"So far this year, at least 33 #ChicagoPolice officers have been shot at or shot protecting Chicago. God bless the brave men & women of CPD," he wrote.

Brown told WLS-TV the injured officers included a female commander, who was shot in the foot, and a male sergeant, who received a bullet wound in the leg while trying to disperse a large crowd shooting off fireworks.

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Both were reported to be in good condition at Stroger Hospital.

"They heard shots and felt pain," the superintendent told reporters. "Not sure if they were targeted or if this was people celebrating and shooting into the air or shooting indiscriminately."

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No one is yet in custody, he said.

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The injuries came as part of a holiday weekend of mayhem in the city which 14 people have died and 74 others have been injured, according to a tally compiled by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Those wounded by gunfire during the span includes five children.

Chicago leaders held a special meeting with Brown Friday ahead of the long weekend, which the superintendent called "most challenging weekend of the year."

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Responding to concerns that crime is out of control in the city, Brown spoke of strategies to identify higher-crime areas to "make sure we are operationally ready." But he warned leaders that "there's way more crowd gathering than we have the capacity" to control.

"We've seen an unprecedented level of people shooting at the police," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters following the meeting, blaming the situation partly on the easily availability of guns.

"You heard the superintendent today say that at the pace we're on, the Chicago Police Department is going to take 12,000 crime guns off the streets just this year alone, which will be double New York and Los Angeles combined," she said. "Who can help with that? The federal government can, and must."

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