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9 May, 2017 19:03

Chicago PD fears military-style weapons among gangs

Chicago PD fears military-style weapons among gangs

The worst shooting incident in Chicago in nearly four years that followed an attack on plainclothes officers earlier in the week has the city police department on high alert over the use of military-style assault rifles by local gangs.

The shooting of Satan Disciples gang member Daniel Cordova on Sunday morning was followed by a mass shooting on Sunday afternoon that resulted in two deaths and wounded eight others. The shooting occurred at the site of a memorial for Cordova in Chicago's Brighton Park neighborhood, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

Adriana Williams, 27, and her brother Michael Williams, 24 – who was also affiliated with the gang – were killed in the shooting, police said.

The mass shooting, the worst in the city since September 2013, involved assault rifles. It's a trend in Brighton Park and the nearby Back of the Yards neighborhood as four Hispanic gangs seek to control the area, according to police.

"Two subjects came out of an alley, and opened fire with rifles," Chicago Police Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro said Sunday in a news conference on the mass shooting at Cordova's memorial, calling it "another brazen act of gang violence."

In response to Sunday's mass shooting, the Chicago Police Department issued a safety bulletin about an uptick in assault weapons used by gangs, according to reports.

Police are also on edge following a non-fatal attack earlier in the week on two plainclothes officers – also shot with assault rifles that can pierce body armor – who police believe were mistaken by shooters to be rival gang members.

Safety alerts are "routine communications to advise field personnel about incidents," Chicago PD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"This bulletin was issued out of an abundance of caution," he said. "There is no specific threat against Chicago police officers."

The department has said it will cover the Brighton Park and Back of the Yards neighborhoods in response, the Tribune reported.

Local Alderman Raymond Lopez, whose ward covers the two neighborhoods, said "no innocent lives were lost" during the shooting that killed the Williams siblings, according to the Tribune.

Police are now providing him with a security detail after receiving death threats, according to a police source.

In February, police said the two southwest Chicago neighborhoods were the only areas in the city where gangs were using assault rifles, according to the Tribune. At that time, more than 30 shootings involving semi-automatic rifles had occurred in the two neighborhoods in the previous nine months, killing 13 people in all.

On Monday, the city hit 200 homicides for the year, the Tribune reported. The pace of homicides in 2017 is on the same pace as last year, according to the Tribune's figures, though the number of people shot and wounded is down this year by more than 100.

As of Monday, at least 1,114 people had been shot in Chicago so far in 2017 compared to 1,239 at the same point in 2016, the Tribune reported.