CHICAGO (SUN TIMES MEDIA WIRE) - More than two dozen people were arrested in a series of raids aimed at stemming shootings across the city during the traditionally violent Memorial Day Weekend, Chicago Police announced Saturday.
Thirty people were taken into custody and hundreds of pounds of narcotics — often a catalyst of violence — were confiscated by officers during the raids, which primarily occurred on the South and West sides, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
“All of the raids and arrests were timed to remove some of the most violent individuals from our streets during the Memorial Day Weekend,” Organized Crime Bureau Chief Anthony Riccio said.
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said the raids were “an important piece of this strategy” to curb violence over a traditionally bloody weekend in Chicago. Over the 2016 Memorial Day Weekend, six people killed were and another 63 were wounded by gunfire across the city.
“As we make our way through this weekend, CPD will use every tool we have to reduce the violence we’ve historically seen on the Memorial Day Weekend,” Johnson said.
More arrests are expected over the long weekend, according to police officials. All those taken into custody so far, along with those still being sought, are on the department’s Strategic Subject List — a formula-driven list of people deemed most likely to be involved in gun violence.
“Our goal was to identify the people that we think are driving the violence, that are going to create the problems and snatch them and let them spend the weekend in Cook County Jail,” Riccio said.
Riccio added that a raid in the 2500 block of North Oak Park netted 119 kilograms — more than 262 pounds — of heroin. Another raid, in the 5200 block of South Sacramento, yielded more than 400 pounds of marijuana. Two guns were recovered in a raid in the Calumet District on the South Side.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that narcotics and weapons charges will be filed against all those arrested.
Saturday’s press conference was held in the 1400 block of North Sedgwick in Old Town, across the street from where a 66-year-old man and two 12-year-old boys were shot on April 11. All were unintended targets and survived the shooting.
The ensuing investigation revealed to police that the shooting stemmed from drug sales in the area, police said. The intended targets of the shooting, two rival gang members, were not harmed.
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) and Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) joined police officials Saturday, commending the work of investigators. The aldermen’s wards share a border along the stretch of Sedgwick where the shooting occurred.
Calling it “particularly disturbing,” Hopkins said the two boys — who lived across the street — were shot while they were “literally on the way to the store to buy candy.” The man who was shot was a repairman who was working to support his family.
“These three individuals were not part of the violence that plagues Chicago,” Hopkins said. “There names weren’t on the Strategic Subject List.”
Guglielmi said that, while it was not known if the April 11 shooter was in custody, police are confident that members of that gang were among those arrested.
An additional 1300 officers — about 400 more than last year — were on patrol across the city for the holiday weekend, Chief of Patrol Fred Waller said Saturday night.
The department was aiming for “high visibility” across the city, Waller said.