Chicago Rings in New Year With First Homicide

PHOTO: Protestors confront police guarding Mayor Rahm Emanuels home on Dec. 29, 2015 in Chicago.Scott Olson/Getty Images
Protestors confront police guarding Mayor Rahm Emanuel's home on Dec. 29, 2015 in Chicago.

Mere hours after Chicago rang in 2016 with fireworks along its famous riverwalk, the city reported its first homicide.

A 24-year-old man was shot in the chest a few minutes after 2 a.m. in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, according to police. He was pronounced dead at the scene and the shooter is at large, a police spokeswoman said. The investigation is ongoing.

Another man, 38, was hurt in the brawl, according to police. He transported himself to a nearby hospital and is listed in good condition after being shot in his hand, officials said.

This is the first homicide of 2016 in a city that saw a sharp increase in murders last year.

While overall crime went down in the city last year, murders and shooting incidents were on the rise in 2015, police reports show. There were 468 reported murders in the city in 2015, a 13 percent increase from 2014, according to police. There were 2,427 shooting incidents last year, a 16 percent spike from 2014.

The city was rocked by protests last year after dash-cam video showing the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was released. McDonald's shooting strained relations between the community and the Chicago Police Department and protesters called for the resignation of some of the city's top officials, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The dash-cam video, which the city fought to keep under wraps for more than a year, was released on Nov. 24, ahead of a court-mandated deadline. The footage shows the 2014 shooting of McDonald at the hands of veteran police officer Jason Van Dyke, who has pleaded not guilty to six counts of first-degree murder in connection to the case. McDonald was shot 16 times.

On Dec. 31, the city released thousands of emails related to the McDonald case after a weeks-long request from media organizations. The emails appear to show a carefully coordinated response to the teen's shooting between the mayor's office, police and the agency that reviews police-involved shootings -- all of which have been harshly criticized for the way the case was handled.

Political fallout from the case includes the firing of Chicago's top cop Garry McCarthy; a recently announced overhaul of the reviewing agency and police training; a federal investigation into the practices of the police department; and consistent calls for the resignation of Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, who also handled the McDonald case.

Emanuel cut his Cuban vacation short this week and returned to Chicago to respond to another police shooting, this time involving an allegedly mentally unstable man and a neighbor. Two people died in that shooting.