When 22-year-old Davon Wade died in his hospital bed from a gunshot wound early Saturday in Washington, D.C., he was the city’s 106th homicide victim of the year. At the height of Labor Day weekend, the nation’s capital joined the ranks of other American cities and surpassed its total number of homicides in all of 2014. By late Monday, that toll was already last week’s news: In the span of 30 minutes, one person was killed and six others wounded by gunfire across town.
Headline-making shootings have punctuated a long summer of gun violence, but there are many more that slipped under the radar, as the vast majority of the country’s gunfire deaths tend to do. From Friday, September 4 through Monday, September 7, at least 145 people were shot to death and 302 were wounded by gunfire in the United States. In Chicago alone, at least 55 people were shot, many of them in drive-by attacks. Nationwide, that brings the summer’s deadly total to this: 4,080 people killed with a gun between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and 9,032 wounded. (Last week, The Trace published a roundup of summer shootings, when the total stood at 3,702 killed.) The tally is calculated by the Gun Violence Archive and is expected to rise in the coming days as additional news reports stream in, but a portrait of the victims is emerging.
A spate of shootings in Charlotte, North Carolina, which killed five and wounded 12, felled one of the weekend’s youngest victims. Kevin Antonio Calderon Rodas was just a seven-year-old at a family party when he was killed by a bullet. Two adults and another child were also wounded in the incident. “We have a lot of soul searching to do when as a city and a country a (child) isn’t safe playing in the front yard,” the local police chief said. A 5-year-old boy in Missouri was shot and killed by his mother, who opened fire on her boyfriend in the heat of an argument. Also on Saturday: A 2-year-old boy shot in the hand during his father’s drug-deal-gone-bad in Dallas, Texas. The next day in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 10-year-old Jason Taylor was struck by a stray bullet while walking home from the store. “I was walking in the street, minding my own business, with two soda cans on my side,” the boy told the local Fox affiliate. That’s pretty much what Brian Zaragoza, 14, was doing when he was shot in the back in Indianapolis, Indiana. Zaragoza said the shooter yelled Hispanic slurs before opening fire. Police believe the attack was racially motivated and possibly connected to a shooting minutes earlier at a taco stand.
Carey Gabay, a lawyer with the administration of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, was hit in a hail of bullets unleashed hours before the start of Brooklyn’s West Indian Day celebrations early Monday. As of this writing, he was clinging to life. The West Indian Day parade and surrounding events have a history of attracting violence: Last year, one man was fatally shot and five others were wounded, including a police officer. Two-hundred miles to the north in Boston, Massachusetts, two women in their 20s were wounded by gunfire outside Fenway Park. (Local news reports characterized the incident as “rare.”) In Las Vegas, Nevada, a police officer was shot in the hand when a gunman ambushed a marked patrol car. The suspect apparently walked into traffic with a .40-caliber handgun and opened fire on the injured officer and his partner as they idled at a traffic light. Twenty-four officers have been killed by intentional gunfire so far this year, half of those since Memorial Day weekend.
A DeKalb County, Georgia, police officer responding to a burglary call was accidentally shot in the hip by another officer. A 16-year-old Fort Meyers, Florida boy accidentally put a bullet in his shoulder while getting out of a car. He initially told police someone shot him as he walked down the street, and now may face charges. A man and a woman in Salem, Oregon, ran to a neighbor’s house claiming they unintentionally shot themselves; police are trying to sort out their stories. A man in Kettering, Ohio, shot his wife in the ankle while removing the magazine from a 9mm handgun as he prepared to go target shooting. Police said he was showing her how to operate the gun in their living room when it discharged.
Dex Osama was an up-and-coming Detroit rapper. One of his more popular songs, “Death on Me,” included the lyrics “My momma said I got death on me/The reason why I got this vest on me/These niggas want me dead nigga/They put money on my head.” He was shot dead in a strip club parking lot on Monday. The same night, 71-year-old Jeffrey Collie shot a man outside of a Winn-Dixie in Dania Beach, Florida. Collie’s nephew told a local news station that his uncle is a veteran who carries a gun for self-defense. “He doesn’t mess with anyone, so I’m sure whatever the confrontation was about, I’m sure he wasn’t the aggressor,” he said.
In tiny New Rockford, North Dakota, a bullet fatally lodged in Donnie Perleberg’s back as he sat at a wedding reception. The woman sitting next to him was also seriously wounded. Police have not revealed the victim’s relationship to the suspect, who is being held on $2 million bail. Perleberg’s sister told a local news outlet that her brother, like thousands of other people in America this summer, was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]