CHICAGO (CBS) — On the heels of another weekend that saw at least 60 people shot in Chicago, Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist” to figure out why shootings continue to be a problem in Chicago. The city’s top cop said too many criminals aren’t afraid to pull the trigger, because they don’t face significant prison time when they do.
“I’m tired of it, and you all should be tired of it too,” Johnson said Monday morning at Chicago Police Headquarters. “People are sick and tired of it, and they should be.”
From about 2:45 p.m. Friday through midnight Sunday night, at least 60 people were shot across Chicago. At least seven of those victims died.
In addition, police said a 15-year-old boy shot and killed himself while fleeing from officers who spotted him with a gun in the North Lawndale neighborhood. However, his family disputes the official ruling of a suicide in that case.
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Johnson said the city’s shootings are largely the result of gang conflicts, noting 26 of the victims were known to police due to past arrests and criminal records. As of Monday morning, three people were in custody in connection to the weekend’s shootings, but no charges had yet been filed.
The superintendent said, if shooters do not face serious consequences for pulling the trigger, they won’t see any reason to stop.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. We’re not splitting the atom,” he said. “If people don’t give us the information we need, and our judicial partners don’t hold them accountable, would you stop if that’s what you wanted to do? You know, it’s ridiculous.”
Johnson repeatedly has called for legislation that would impose more severe prison sentences for repeat gun offenders.
“As long as we fail to create repercussions for carrying and using illegal guns, or more importantly hold repeat violent offenders accountable for their actions, we’re simply going to continue to have these discussions on Monday mornings,” Johnson said. “Because it’s the same people who are pulling the triggers in some of these communities, this isn’t a widespread issue among Chicagoans, it’s the same people.”
Johnson said the Chicago Police Department alone cannot solve the city’s violent crime problems.
“We cannot be on every street corner of this city every moment of the day. We just can’t. That’s an impossibility,” he said. “There’s no police department in this country that can do that.”
This was the second weekend this month that saw at least 60 people shot in Chicago.
On the first weekend of August, at least 66 people were shot from Friday evening through Sunday night, 12 of them fatally.
In response to that weekend’s shootings, Chicago police officials announced that hundreds of additional officers would be deployed to the five districts hardest hit by gun violence. The department said 430 more officers would be placed on patrol during the week, and 600 more would be deployed on weekends in the Calumet, Gresham, Ogden, Harrison, and Austin districts.