CHICAGO (CBS) — On the heels of a weekend that saw at least 37 people shot in Chicago – four of them fatally – Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said “lax state and federal gun laws” leave officers “running on a hamster wheel” in efforts to reduce gun violence.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellmore reports, as he has said anytime there has been a flurry of shootings, McCarthy said police could do everything right, and violence would continue, as long as so many guns and criminals remain on the streets.
State lawmakers have resisted McCarthy’s call for mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes. Asked if they could change proposed legislation for mandatory minimums to change concerns of gun rights activists, McCarthy said “there are adjustments that could be made if the conversations were had.”
“But let me just say this. … If anybody here thinks that what we’re doing has been working, then let’s just keep doing it. Let’s keep reading headlines about 14- and 4-year-olds getting killed,” he said.
Between Friday afternoon and Sunday night, at least 37 people were shot in Chicago; four of them were killed.
Early Sunday, 32-year-old Corey Brownlee was shot and killed in the Washington Park neighborhood. He was shot in the chest in the 6000 blok of South Indiana Avenue around 2:40 a.m. Sunday; a 27-year-old woman was injured in the same shooting.
Less than two hours earlier, 20-year-old Joshua Martinez was slain in Gage Park, when 17-year-old Angel Jara allegedly shot him several times after an argument in the 3000 block of West 53rd Place.
Friday night, 34-year-old Shannon Mack was shot several times in the South Shore neibhorhood. He was pronounced dead at the scene in the 2800 block of East 76th Street.
At about 3:30 p.m. Friday, 17-year-old Gakirah Barnes was killed and two men were wounded in a shooting in the Woodlawn neighborhood.
At least 30 other people were wounded in various other shootings over the weekend.
McCarthy said police have identified some gang rivalries at work in some of the most recent shootings, and were moving to intervene; but the superintendent said “lax state and federal gun laws” thwart the department’s efforts.
“At the end of the day, it’s like running on a hamster wheel, when we’re drinking from a fire hose seizing these guns, and people are coming right back out on the street,” he said. “They’re not learning that carrying a firearm is going to have a severe impact on what’s happening in their lives.”
Last year, the Emanuel administration backed a proposal to raise the mandatory minimum sentence for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon from one to three years, and require offenders to serve 85 percent of their sentences ��� a “truth in sentencing” provision.
In November, sponsors removed language that would impose the new mandatory minimum on first-time offenders, but the measure was sent back to committee in December.
Still, murders so far in 2014 have dropped compared to the same timeframe in 2013.
WBBM’s Steve Miller reports FBI Director James Comey said he will use resources to help fight crime in Chicago and other cities.
“A plague in this great city,” is how Comey described the violence in Chicago.
“I’m painfully aware of the loss of life in Chicago through violent crime, not just this past weekend but in recent months and years. I know it’s something the great police department here devotes tremendous resources to.”
Comey said he’s hiring 1,000 new people between now and October 1 and another 1000 in the nine months after that.
“And I’m sure one of the ways we’re going to deploy those resources is to try and help with violent crime in a city like Chicago.”
Director Comey was in Chicago for a long-scheduled meeting with Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and other law enforcement officials.