Supt. Johnson calls for harsher sentences after violent Chicago weekend

Chicago police say they have three "persons of interest" in custody following the second-bloodiest weekend of the year, with 58 people shot and seven killed.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson responded Monday by once again accusing judges and prosecutors of failing to lock up repeat offenders.

Police nabbing three "persons of interest" in connection with last weekend's violence could be progress. Two weeks ago, after the year's worst bloodshed and 12 killings, no one was charged.

Police Superintendent Johnson blames judges and prosecutors who won't lock up repeat offenders arrested with illegal firearms.

“These shootings are not random. They're fueled by gang conflicts. We know who they are,” Johnson 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?”

The west side Austin neighborhood is by far Chicago’s bloodiest, with more than 200 people shot this year and 42 dead.

Its representative in Springfield lost his own cousin last January. Gunmen killed him and his girlfriend with bullets to the head. It remains unsolved, as do 85 percent of this year's homicides in Chicago.

“There are cameras in every community, the blue lights flashing and we can't catch the killers,” said State Rep. La Shawn Ford. “We may not have enough detectives to help solve these murders.”

As Mayor Emanuel prepares to run for re-election, Chicago police are now hiring hundreds of new officers and are promoting new detectives. But the workload for each homicide detective here remains far larger than in, for example, New York, where more than 60 percent of murders are solved.

Other obstacles here include a scandalous backlog at the Illinois State Police Crime Lab. Gov. Rauner's re-election year budget includes new hiring there, but the shrunken staff currently takes up to a year to complete such basic tests as DNA analysis.