Chicago police oversee funeral ahead of mass shooting

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Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said his department had two squad cars and a full tactical team guarding a burial Tuesday night in Auburn-Gresham, but that wasn’t enough to prevent 15 people from being shot. in a shootout which officials said was escalation. of an ongoing gang conflict.Tuesday’s mass shooting outside a funeral home in the 1000 block of West 79th Street left 15 people injured, 10 women and five men. Chief Detective Brendan Deenihan said one victim was in “extremely critical condition” and another was in critical condition, with the rest of the injured expected to recover.

The shooting began around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when a stolen black Chevrolet Malibu drove past the funeral and two people inside began shooting, Deenihan said at a press conference Wednesday morning. Members of the funeral fired back. A total of 60 shots were fired, police said. The Malibu crashed during the shooting and people inside fled.

Following the shooting, police took a “person of interest” into custody for questioning, but this person was released Wednesday afternoon, according to police officer Anthony Spicuzza, who did not explain why the individual was released and only said that the investigation was ongoing.

Deenihan said they believed there were three people inside the car that started the shooting, including two “shooters.”

Brown said police were monitoring the funeral because the deceased had been killed about a week earlier in a drive-by shootout that was part of a “gang rivalry.”

Deenihan said the murder itself was retaliation for a previous shooting.

Brown said the department regularly monitors the funerals of people killed in “gang conflicts” because of the potential for gun violence.

In recent years, there have been several shootings during or after funerals and memorials. In 2018, six people were shot dead during the funeral of a local rapper. And last year, 13 people were shot dead at a memorial in the Englewood neighborhood.

Anti-violence activist Tamar Manasseh, founder of Mothers Against Senseless Killings, wrote on social media that she had warned police that Tuesday’s funeral was a potential target for shooting and expressed frustration that the CPD did not did not do enough to protect people.

“Please tell me how it went AFTER the police heard about it?” she posted shortly after the shooting.

“We’re sitting ducks! They are going to let us all… die! Manasseh posted a few minutes later.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Brown did not deny that police had been made aware of the potential for violence, but said: “Regardless of the warnings given, if we haven’t even received a warning, we treat each [gang] funeral or alarm clock or meal in the same way.

Brown also said he wanted to “fix the record” that police did not adequately prepare for violence at the funeral, saying the CPD only parked one patrol car at the funeral. .

Information that CPD had stationed a single car outside of Tuesday’s funeral came directly from First Deputy Superintendent Eric Carter, who said Tuesday evening that a “car” had been assigned to the funeral as a “precaution.”

In the end, the precautions taken by the police were not sufficient. The victims of the shooting range are between 21 and 65 years old, police said. Only two of the shooting victims were previously “known to the police”, according to a CPD press office.

The shooting near the funeral home comes amid a wave of gun violence in Chicago.

Chicago has had 429 homicides this year, according to a WBEZ analysis of data from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office through Monday. The number is up 49% from 2019 and is more than any year since 1996.

“The impact of these bullets goes beyond pain and heartache. These bullets destroy our sense of security in our neighborhoods. These bullets also leave survivors feeling hopeless. Those going through a shootout wonder if they might be the next person to be shot. Imagine living with that feeling day in and day out, ”Brown said Wednesday. “This cycle of violence in Chicago must end. It ends when someone who has been injured does not grab a gun. It ends when someone calls our detectives, gives them advice that could open a case, and we can hold people accountable in the criminal justice system.

On Wednesday afternoon, President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr announced that federal agents would break into several US cities, including Chicago, to help local authorities fight rising crime.

Earlier in the week, sources said the Trump administration planned to award approximately 150 federal agents to help end gun violence in Chicago, a city that already has about 13,000 police officers and hundreds of federal agents.

Trump highlighted the rise in gun violence in the city, where more than 63 people were shot, including 12 fatally, over the weekend.

Usually, the Department of Justice sends officers under its own umbrella, such as officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or the Drug Enforcement Agency. But this intensive effort will include agents from the Homeland Security Investigations Department, who typically investigate drug trafficking and child exploitation. Lightfoot, who had threatened to sue if Donald Trump acted without his permission, said the city would work with federal agents to fight crime.

Lightfoot is skeptical of sending federal agents to Chicago amid controversy in Portland, Oregon, where the Trump administration has sent federal officers after weeks of protests against police brutality and injustice race that followed the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Chip Mitchell of WBEZ and Associated Press contributed reporting for this story.

Patrick Smith is a reporter with the WBEZ Criminal Justice Office. Follow it @pksmid. Send him an email at [email protected].

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