U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was sending federal help to fight crime in Chicago that has reached "epidemic" proportions.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, speaking Friday on the Fox News Channel's morning show, "Fox & Friends", said the Justice Department is "sending in additional gun investigators" to Chicago and that he has urged the USA attorney's office to prosecute gun cases aggressively.
Breitbart News reported that Chicago had almost 4,400 shootings and almost 800 homicides in 2016. Trump wrote on Twitter.
In February, shortly after Mr. Trump's inauguration, the A.T.F. announced that it would send more agents to Chicago. This was an increase of nearly 60 percent and was more than the number of murders in New York City and Los Angeles, combined.
A mass shooting is defined as an incident involving four or more people.
There have been 320 murders in Chicago so far this year.
There have been over 30,000 gun-related incidents across the USA in the first six months of this year, according to figures from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA). "We've directed our USA attorneys to prosecute these gun cases aggressively", he told Fox News.
"This new strike force will significantly help our police officers stem the flow of illegal guns and create a culture of accountability for the small subset of individuals and gangs who disproportionally drive violence in our city", Mr. Johnson said.
The Strike Force became operational June 1, 2017, and consists of 20 additional permanent ATF special agents, 6 intelligence research specialists, 12 task force officers from the Chicago Police Department (CPD), 2 task force officers from the Illinois State Police, and 4 NIBIN specialists (National Integrated Ballistics Information Network). Roughly 40 ATF agents have already been working with local and state police on reducing gun violence in the city. A specially-equipped mobile van that can process bullets and shell casings will help the task force investigators build cases against shooters and gun dealers, ATF spokesman Dave Coulson told the Sun-Tmes. "They need to not be a sanctuary city, they need to be protecting the people of Chicago from violent criminals".