CHICAGO (STMW) — The city’s crackdown on violence at gang funerals continued Wednesday when officers nabbed a parolee with a gun on the West Side, officials said.
The parolee, David Freeman, was wounded and his girlfriend Shemara Fitzpatrick was killed Dec. 1 in a gang-related shooting in the 4800 block of West Fulton Street, police said.
Police said they feared Freeman might try to kill rival gang members responsible for the shootings. They also worried his rivals might try to kill Freeman at his girlfriend’s funeral Thursday in the 5700 block of West Madison Street.
Austin District police Cmdr. Barbara West said her officers developed a security plan for the funeral. Such planning is part of a crackdown on gang funerals that police Supt. Garry McCarthy ordered after a gang member was killed outside a South Side church Nov. 26.
Officers in the Austin District and in the gang enforcement division gathered information that Freeman allegedly had a gun and was planning to retaliate against his rivals in the 100 block of North Laporte Avenue.
Police contacted the Illinois Department of Corrections and they conducted an “emergency parolee check” on Freeman’s home Wednesday morning. He was arrested on a charge of unlawful use of a weapon after officers found a handgun, police said.
“We probably saved his life — and there’s no doubt in my mind that we prevented a retaliatory shooting,” said Kevin Ryan, commander of the gang enforcement division.
Freeman is a member of the Cicero Insane Vice Lords, who’ve been battling the Mafia Insane Vice Lords, police said.
West said she’ll have officers outside Fitzpatrick’s funeral Thursday to make sure no more gang violence erupts.
As part of McCarthy’s crackdown, officers also arrested a 17-year-old Saturday after he was caught bringing a handgun to a slain gang member’s funeral, police said.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)