What To Know Today

The 2020 homicide rate could be the highest in more than 15 years. In a sobering Twitter thread, criminologist Patrick Sharkey looked at data from the 100 largest American cities and found that fatal shootings were up in almost all of them this year, echoing the findings of other analyses. Sharkey notes that the rise was especially pronounced from May through October — with violence skyrocketing in places like Chicago, New York, New Orleans, and St. Louis. But the uptick was well underway before the pandemic or nationwide protests against police violence: Seventy-five percent of the largest cities saw increases in fatal shootings from January through April. “I fear the murder rate in 2020 will end up being at least as high as it was back at the beginning of the 2000s,” Sharkey wrote. “We’re losing ground. It’s time to confront violence with a new model driven not by punishment, but by investment.”

“Chilling precedent”: Virginia officers turned a blind eye to unauthorized armed protest. Independent journalist Ford Fischer has the play-by-play on a demonstration by rifle-carrying, anti-government boogaloo followers outside the Capitol in Richmond this weekend. State legislator Sally Hudson decried the lack of law enforcement action against the protesters, who didn’t have a permit and flouted a city ban on guns at protests. Anti-Trump and armed in Atlanta: Members of a leftist militia joined antifa activists and other counter-protesters as they squared off against pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” rally-goers in Georgia on Saturday — a day after the Republican secretary of state certified President-elect Joe Biden’s win there. 

Florida law enforcement officials are probing the fatal police shooting of two Black teens. Sixteen-year-old Angelo Crooms and 18-year-old Sincere Pierce were fatally shot by a Brevard County Sheriff’s deputy who fired on their car at least eight times in a residential neighborhood around 10:30 am on November 13. The Sheriffs Office has released dash cam footage and claims the deputies, who were investigating a possible stolen vehicle, were acting in self-defense as Crooms, who had pulled into a driveway, headed back in their direction. Lawyer Benjamin Crump, who is representing their families, said the young men feared for their own lives and were trying to maneuver around the police cruisers. Another attorney said the car belonged to Crooms’ girlfriend. The New York Times spoke with Pierce’s guardian, who witnessed the killing and recalled screaming at the deputies:  “Please, don’t shoot! Please, don’t shoot! My baby’s in that car!” 

“This is so difficult”: Tamir Rice’s mother marked the sixth anniversary of her son’s death. Samara Rice paid tribute on Facebook and asked for donations to the Tamir Rice Foundation, which supports after-school programs for kids and advocates for police reform. In 2014, an officer in Cleveland shot the 12-year-old as he played with a replica gun at a playground. Trace context: Since 2015, police officers have killed more than 150 people who were holding realistic-looking toy guns while gunmakers have made handsome profits from licensing their designs to toy companies.

More on the U.S. guns fueling bloodshed in Mexico. Some 2.5 million illicit firearms have come across the border in the last decade, according to a Mexican government study cited by The Washington Post in a visual investigation of the .50 caliber rifles favored by cartels. Nearly 70 percent of Mexican homicides were committed with guns in 2018, compared to 15 percent in 1997. As we reported last year, the powerful .50 caliber sniper rifle has been implicated in numerous high-profile cases of anti-government violence in Mexico, and experts told us it was fueling a ballooning criminal insurgency.

17-year-old Kenosha shooter posts $2 million bail. The teen faces a slew of charges for allegedly fatally shooting two protesters and wounding a third during unrest in the Wisconsin city in August. A handful of conservative celebrities contributed to the bail fund. The accused gunman is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on December 3.

Data Point

More than 290 people under the age of 18 have been shot in Chicago this year, according to police statistics that go through September. Thirty-eight children under 12 have been killed, the highest in six years. [WGN]