“Tribal Warfare” Gripping Chicago As Gang Violence Spreads Uncontrollably [Video]

“Tribal Warfare” has taken over in Chicago as the city grips with a deadly gang war, a member of the city’s gang enforcement unit said.

The city has seen at least 275 people killed so far this year and many others shot, with many of the victims innocent bystanders. On Tuesday 12- and 13-year-old girls were shot but survived, the Chicago Tribune reported, and last month a 7-year-old girl was shot and killed while selling lemonade.

The 200-something gang specific officers in the city have been struggling to keep up with the estimated 100,000 gang members there.

“Almost all the violence we’re seeing now is from the gangs,” Sgt. Matt Little, leader of one of the teams in Chicago’s Gang Enforcement Unit, told CBS News in Chicago. “When there’s a shooting we’ll respond to the shooting. We’ll figure out where we believe the most likely area for retaliation is and we’ll work that area trying to both prevent retaliation and possibly build a case on offenders.”

Little said the “Tribal Warfare” is taking place in part because of the crumbling structure of many of the gangs. Their leaders have been killed off or put in prison, leaving little chain of command and no one to keep violence and retaliation in check, he said. Those left in control are instead “young, reckless, and often terrible shots,” he added.

Police have been trying their best to quash the “Tribal Warfare.” They have a database of information taken from interviews with gang members and use it to try to anticipate gang violence before it happens.

Little, a decorated veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, said gang violence has turned parts of Chicago into the same kind of setting he saw in combat.

It’s “tribal warfare,” he told CBS Chicago, “and as it continues to build unless we manage to interdict it, and manage to stop it long enough for the blood to stop boiling, the heat to die down.”