(NEW YORK) — It was a violent Memorial Day weekend for many American cities.
Gun violence in the U.S. is surging. So far, 8,100 people in the United States have died from gun violence in 2021 as of Sunday, according to the Gun Violence Archive, putting the year on track to match the over 19,000 who were killed in 2020. Those numbers mark significant increases from 2019, when over 15,000 people died by gun violence.
In Miami-Dade County, Florida, 23 people were shot in a mass shooting outside a banquet hall early Sunday, including two who were killed.
Authorities said they believe the shooting at the El Mula Banquet Hall in Hialeah, Florida, was motivated by an “ongoing rivalry” between two groups.
The shooters reportedly waited outside of the banquet hall for about 40 minutes before exiting their car and opening fire, Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez told ABC News on Sunday. Some patrons returned fire, Ramirez said, and over 100 shell casings were found at the scene.
The three suspected shooters remain at large.
Despite a cold and rainy holiday weekend, 16 people were shot in Philadelphia between Friday and Monday, including four people who were killed, police said.
The violence didn’t stop once the holiday weekend ended. Two deadly shootings unfolded in southwest Philadelphia just minutes apart early Tuesday: A 35-year-old man was shot at least four times at close range near his home, and a 28-year-old man was shot at least twice in a bowling alley parking lot, ABC Philadelphia station WPVI reported.
In Harris County, Texas, which encompasses Houston, multiple shootings were reported in public places over Memorial Day weekend. An employee at a nail salon was shot on Saturday, and deadly gunfire erupted at a nightclub early Monday, according to the sheriff’s office.
In New York City, shootings were reported in all five boroughs Monday night.
A total of nine shootings were reported in New York on Memorial Day. Among the 15 victims was a 15-year-old who died, police said.
Shootings are up 77% from the same time last year. There have been 573 shootings so far this year with 652 victims, a drastic increase from the 323 incidents with 366 victims at this point last year.
“A lot of the time you have individuals shooting at other individuals that are known,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told local station NY1 on Tuesday, “but as the tide rises, you start to see more and more innocent people getting shot, too.”
“Incidents of gunfire, whether anyone is hit or not, really traumatizes the whole block. Then you start thinking, ‘I don’t want to send my kids out to the store or to play in front of the house,"” Shea said. “So this is something that affects all of us, and thats why we’re so committed to stopping it.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki last week said, “Certainly, there is a guns problem.”
“And that’s something the president would say, and there are communities where local violence and community violence is an issue. And that’s one of the reasons that we have proposed and … now are implementing funding for community violence prevention programs across the country,” she said, underscoring President Joe Biden’s support for passing universal background checks.
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