CHICAGO (AP) — Federal officials are sending more agents to Chicago to help the police department fight violence after the city experienced a bloody July 4 holiday weekend that left more than a dozen people dead and dozens more injured.
The Bureau of Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assigning seven more agents to work in the city, upping the total number of agents to 52, to "bring more resources to Chicago to combat some of the gun violence."
Federal authorities have been discussing ways that FBI and other federal agents could help combat gun violence and street gangs — major reasons why Chicago led the nation in homicides in 2013.
A Department of Justice news release also says the FBI has temporarily assigned during the summer 20 agents to help the 100 agents already in Chicago.
In the release, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder linked the influx to a recent round-table discussion on youth violence that he participated in with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
"The Department of Justice will continue to do everything in its power to help the city of Chicago combat gun violence," Holder said in a statement. "These new agents are a sign of the federal government's ongoing commitment to helping local leaders ensure Chicago's streets are safe."
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who holds weekly news conferences to highlight the fact that the department seizes more illegal guns than any other police force in the country, welcomed the increased federal resources.
"We have enjoyed an ever-improving and increasingly productive relationship with our federal partners," he said in the statement.