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1.4 murders a day: Chicago reaches 500 homicides in 2012

Chicago reached “a tragic number” today, according to Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy: Its homicide total for the year hit 500, the highest annual total since 2008.

The city's latest homicide occurred around 9 p.m. Thursday when Nathaniel T. Jackson, 40, an alleged gang member with a lengthy arrest record, was gunned down outside a store in the Austin neighborhood.

As of Thursday night, homicides were up 17 percent over last year in Chicago and shootings had increased by 11 percent, according to police statistics. Earlier this fall, Chicago already exceeded the number of homicides that occurred last year, but this is the first time the city has had 500 or more murders since the 512 in 2008.

Largely contributing to the spike was the unusual number of homicides that occurred during the early part of the year, when the city experienced unseasonable warmth. In the first three months of the year, homicides ran about 60 percent ahead of the 2011 rate.

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