CHICAGO (CBS) — For years, Chicago Police have been complaining about repeat gun offenders bonding out of jail and fueling the cycle of violence in Chicago.

CBS 2’s Megan Hickey is always investigating, and she fact-checked those claims Wednesday with new data made public this week.

CBS 2 discovered gun offenders with four, five, or even six previous gun arrests who got to walk free on bond.

Within weeks – even days in some cases – many of them ended up with guns back in their hands.

On May 6, 63-year-old Ronald Spraggins brought a loaded gun to a West Pullman neighborhood insurance agency and threatened to shoot the agent.

According to court records, he said, “If we gonna do this, let’s do this,” while pointing to the 9mm handgun in his waistband.

Spraggins bonded out of jail on an I-bond, which means he didn’t have to pay a dime.

Six weeks later, he allegedly did it again – this time to a pair of Peoples Gas employees whom he threatened at gun point. And somehow, he’d gotten his hands on a new gun.

The victim from the insurance agency said she was stunned and deeply disappointed Spraggins was able to bond out.

It sadly lines up with a familiar refrain that has been coming up hearing for years.

“To those individuals who repeatedly use guns in Chicago, your time is up,” police Supt. Eddie Johnson said on June 23, 2017.

“The ability of the criminal justice system to hold repeat offenders is marginal at best,” Johnson said on Oct. 14, 2018.

“We know who a lot of these people are. And how do we know that? Because we keep arresting them over and over and over again. And it’s just a vicious cycle,” Johnson said on June 3, 2019.

It turns out Spraggins is one of 41 gun offenders who have been rearrested since May 1. CBS 2 kept digging and found that during the same period, 258 offenders with previous gun arrests got out of jail without having to pay anything.

And some of the offenders who got out on I-bonds had violent criminal histories. At least a dozen had been arrested for domestic violence, while
Another dozen had been behind bars for violent crimes.

On Wednesday night, Spraggins was back in the Cook County Jail awaiting hearings on what are now five separate felony gun charges.

Megan Hickey