A bloody Easter weekend in Chicago has shaken up what had been months of steady declines in gun violence, reports MSNBC. Weekend violence left nine dead and at least 35 wounded, including six children, an escalation that caused federal authorities to intervene. The U.S. Attorney's office said it would create a new unit staffed by more than a dozen prosecutors tasked with using federal law as a crime-fighting weapon. “This is putting a group of talented attorneys together and telling them that their mission is to help the city and the district tamp down violent crime,” a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon told the Chicago Tribune.
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy offered the obligatory, if not wearied, response. “We're all tired of it,” McCarthy told NBC Chicago, lamenting the lack of teeth behind the state's gun laws, which have allowed an untold number of illegal weapons to flow into Chicago from around less restrictive cities across the state. “Unfortunately, we're going to have the same conversation that we always have.” Last year, McCarthy was hopeful that steep drops in gun violence and murders could be sustained with new police tactics and bolstered communication with stakeholders in the communities most affected by shootings. He assigned cadres of officers to walking beats, effectively removing the buffer of police cruisers.