A spate of weekend mass shootings and violence across the U.S. killed at least six people, including a Pennsylvania state trooper, and left dozens injured. The shootings follow a surge in homicides and other violence over several years that experts say accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic. The new shootings happened in suburban Chicago, Washington state, central Pennsylvania, St. Louis, Southern California, and Baltimore, the Associated Press reports. “There’s no question there’s been a spike in violence,” said criminologist Daniel Nagin of Carnegie Mellon University. “Some of these cases seem to be just disputes, often among adolescents, and those disputes are played out with firearms, not with fists.” Researchers disagree over the cause of the increase. Theories include the possibility that violence is driven by the prevalence of guns, by less aggressive police tactics or a decline in prosecutions for misdemeanor weapon offenses, Nagin said. As of Sunday evening, none of the weekend events fit the definition of a mass killing, because fewer than four people died at each location. The figure does not include the shooter. However, the number of injured in most cases matches the widely accepted definition of mass shootings.
This weekend, at least 23 people were shot, one fatally, early Sunday in a suburban Chicago parking lot where hundreds of people had gathered to celebrate Juneteenth. The DuPage County sheriff’s office described a “peaceful gathering” that suddenly turned violent as a number of people fired multiple shots into the crowd in Willowbrook, Ill. In Washington state, two people were killed and two others were injured when a shooter began firing “randomly” into a crowd at a campground where many people were staying to attend a nearby music festival on Saturday night. The suspect was shot in a confrontation with law enforcement officers and taken into custody, several hundred yards from the Beyond Wonderland electronic dance music festival. A public alert advised people of an active shooter in the area and advised them to “run, hide or fight.” In Baltimore, six people were injured in a Friday night shooting. All were expected to survive. Officers heard gunshots just before 9 p.m. and found three men with numerous gunshot wounds. Police later learned of three additional victims who walked into area hospitals with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds. Shootings also occurred in other areas, including central Pennsylvania, St. Louis, Baltimore, and San Francisco.