Chicago’s top cop blames mass shooting in Back of Yards on release of convicted felon

Chicago’s top cop blamed a mass shooting in Back of the Yards on a convicted felon who was recently arrested on gun charges but was released on cash bond despite his violent record.

Police Supt. David Brown told reporters Wednesday that Sergio Barron, 28, is behind much of the recent gang violence in the South Side neighborhood, where homicides are up 100% from a year ago and shootings are up 48%.

"He’s driving the retaliatory violence," Brown said.


Barron was released recently after serving eight years on gun charges and assaulting police. He was soon arrested again, in March, and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. He was released from Cook County Jail the next day on $10,000 bail.

As he has often done in the past, Brown called on judges to be tougher on gun cases that involve people with a record of violent crime. "There needs to be a better risk assessment by judges," he said. "The police did their job. That felon got a cash bond."

Brown did not say exactly what role Barron is suspected of playing in the Back of the Yards shooting, which wounded five teens — killing one of them — around 4:30 p.m. when gunmen in a stolen red Mazda opened fire in the 4800 block of South Ada Street.

The Back of the Yards shooting was one of two mass attacks hours apart on the South Side. In the other, six people were wounded around 10:30 p.m. in Jackson Park when an argument broke out between two groups who were live-streaming there.

In all, 21 people were shot in Chicago Tuesday, two of them fatally, a toll generally seen on a violent weekend in the city. At least 14 people were shot, two of them fatally, on Monday, and 24 people were shot — 6 of them fatally — over the past weekend.

In the Back of the Yards attack, Brown said two rival gangs who have been fighting for the last month or so began "exchanging gunfire" on a street where children were playing near an open fire hydrant.

A 19-year-old man was shot on the left side of his body and in the head. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and pronounced dead; a 16-year-old boy was shot in the left shoulder, arm, face and ankle and was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition; an 18-year-old man was shot in the right hip and left knee and taken to Mount Sinai in critical condition; another 18-year-old man was shot in the right leg and taken to the University of Chicago in good condition; a second 16-year-old boy was grazed in the right ankle but refused medical attention, police said.

The gunmen crashed a few blocks from the scene, in the 4500 block of South Marshfield Avenue, according to Police Cmdr. Don Jerome. Two rifles and a handgun were recovered.

Brown said responding officers were attacked by gang members at the scene, disputing reports that onlookers were angry that police were not administering life-saving measures to the victims.

"Gang members began assaulting police officers," Brown said, adding that two of the officers were "battered."

Two gang members were arrested, a 20-year-old man charged with assaulting an officer and resisting arrest and a 42-year-old man charged with resisting arrest.

Hours later, six people were shot and wounded when an argument broke out between two groups who were live-streaming in Jackson Park, Brown said. In one of the groups, a rapper from Indiana was live-streaming her music, he said.

"The conflict led to an exchange of gunfire" around 10:30 p.m. in the 6400 block of South Richards Drive, Brown said.

A 29-year-old woman was struck in the abdomen and was taken in serious condition to Jackson Park Hospital, police said. Another woman, 37, suffered two gunshot wounds in the chest and was transported to the University of Chicago Medical Center in serious condition.

Two other women, 22 and 30, were shot in the leg and were taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in good condition, police said.

A 21-year-old man was grazed in the head and was also taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in good condition, police said.

Another man, 29, was struck in the leg and was transported in good condition to Holy Cross Hospital.

An hour later, about a mile away, two people were shot by a gunman in the parking lot of LaRabida Children’s Hospital on Promontory Point, police said.

A woman, 30, was shot in the leg and taken to Jackson Park Hospital in good condition. A man, 27, was shot in the torso and taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center. His condition was not known.

Brown said police have made no arrests and have few leads. He asked for the public’s help.

The shootings happened in the 3rd police district, where homicides are down 7% and shootings are down 12% from a year ago.