Two Chicago teenagers were fatally shot Thursday evening into early Friday on the city's South Side.
Nathaniel Gonzalez, 16, was gunned down in a drive-by shooting around 3:45 p.m. Thursday while standing on a sidewalk in the 5900 block of South Laflin Street in the city's Englewood neighborhood, the Chicago Tribune reports. He was pronounced dead at 4:30 p.m.
Another 16-year-old, Jamauri Askew, was shot in an alley in the 7500 block of South Paulina Street in West Englewood at 9:30 p.m., according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Another teen was also shot in the incident and was taken in critical condition to an area hospital. Police believe the shooting may have been gang-related.
No one is in custody in either shooting as an investigation is ongoing.
Chicago is in the midst of a surge of homicides and shootings which prompted the Chicago Police Department to enter into a pilot partnership with violent "interrupter" group CeaseFire. The partnership began last week, just after CeaseFire helped orchestrate the surrender of an 18-year-old man charged with aggravated battery in the shooting of two young girls.
Chicago's murder rate was a subject of discussion at a Thursday House Judiciary Committee hearing.
The Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet reports that, when Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) asked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano whether more cooperation between DHS and Chicago when it comes to cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and deporting undocumented individuals who have been arrested could -- hypothetically -- reduce its murder rate, Napolitano agreed.
As the Christian Science Monitor reported Wednesday, through the end of June, homicides are up 39 percent in Chicago, while they are down in both New York City and Los Angeles. Murders through June in Chicago are 58 percent higher than the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan over the same period.
Last month, Chicago Public Schools reported the highest number of students wounded by firearms in four years. During the 2011-12 school year, 24 CPS students were killed and 319 others wounded in shootings.
Despite the spike of gun violence, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy have defended their crime-fighting tactics, particularly their strategy on Chicago gangs.