Johnson: Focus on Wrigleyville not to blame for weekend shootings

SHARE Johnson: Focus on Wrigleyville not to blame for weekend shootings

Cubs fans and police officers outside Wrigley Field celebrate the Cubs’s Game 5 World Series victory on Sunday. | Santiago Covarrubias / Sun-Times

This past weekend saw the most fatal shootings all year in Chicago, but CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson said deploying extra officers to control crowds around Wrigley Field during the World Series did not mean other neighborhoods were neglected.

Between Friday evening and Monday morning — as the Cubs were playing three straight games at Wrigley Field — 17 people were shot and killed in Chicago, nearly all on the South and West sides.

It was the deadliest gun-violence weekend so far this year, according to homicide totals tracked by the Chicago Sun-Times. Besides those shot and killed, 41 other people were wounded in gun violence citywide.

RELATED: Slain twins among victims on deadly Chicago weekend

The extra officers at Wrigley didn’t impact police staffing in the rest of the city, Johnson said Monday morning after a department graduation ceremony at Navy Pier.

Those neighborhoods hit by the spike in fatal shootings “didn’t get shortchanged at all this weekend,” he said.

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson talks to reporters Monday morning at Navy Pier. | Jordan Owen/Sun-Times Media

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson talks to reporters Monday morning at Navy Pier. | Jordan Owen/Sun-Times Media

“We had adequate resources there. We had canceled days off, as well as 12-hour shifts the entire weekend. So, I’m confident that he had the resources out there.

“These violent gun offenders are clearly giving us the message that they just don’t care about the rest of the city of Chicago. To be quite frank, I’m sick of it and I know the people in the communities are tired of it. That’s why we have to do a better job of holding those individuals accountable.”

This year’s highest total for fatal shootings on a weekend had been 13; that number was reached on both Father’s Day and Labor Day weekends.

In another particularly violent stretch, nine people were killed in city shootings and 13 others were wounded on Monday, Aug. 9.

Besides those shot and killed, 41 other people were wounded in gun violence citywide over the weekend.

“Clearly there were a lot more people outside, but you would think people would be in a better frame of mind given the fact that the Cubs are playing in the World Series,” Johnson said.

Police in the Wrigleyville neighborhood made about 20 arrests over the weekend, all for minor offenses, Johnson said.

“I’m quite pleased,” he said. “We put a lot of effort into making sure that the people of Chicago were able to enjoy the baseball game and be safe. I think to that end, we saw substantial positive results, so I am pleased about the weekend over there at Wrigley Field.”

The violence elsewhere was, of course, troubling, Johnson said.

“I can’t tell you the mental status of those individuals that commit the gun crimes or why they chose this weekend. … The men and women of CPD work really hard holding these individuals accountable. We’ve recovered close to 7,000 illegal handguns, so that tells you the police are doing their part.”

Johnson pointed to the size of Monday’s graduating CPD class — 217, the largest in recent memory.

“That recruiting class in there today should be commended. I’ve been here 28 years. I haven’t seen a graduating class that large,” Johnson said. “That’s a commitment to the citizens of Chicago that we’re trying to put more officers out on the street. That’s just a small piece of it.”

Edwin Bryant was shot and killed Sunday morning. | Provided photo

Edwin Bryant was shot and killed Sunday morning. | Provided

Among the dead over the weekend were twin 17-year-old brothers killed in a drive-by shooting early Sunday in Old Town. Edwin and Edward Bryant were standing outside about 3:15 a.m. in the 1300 block of North Hudson when a dark-colored vehicle drove by and someone inside opened fire, according to Chicago Police.

The brothers were two of four teenagers shot dead in Chicago since early Saturday.

“That was a tough weekend, but it just goes back to what I’ve been saying all the time,” Johnson said. “Until we start holding repeat gun offenders accountable for these crimes, they’re going to keep seeing cycles of gun violence like this. The majority of these shootings this weekend were gang-related, we know that. But they just have no fear of the consequences of their actions.”

Johnson said that in the case of the Bryant twins, “we do have video footage of that incident. We’re making progress on it. The two brothers, as far as we could tell, they didn’t have any documented gang affiliation. But the individuals they were with did. So it’s possibly gang-related.”

He added: “We are making substantial progress on a number of those cases over the weekend. We just have to ensure that we keep working hard and I know the detectives will.”

Edwin Bryant was shot in the chest and back and was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:45 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office and police. Edward suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and head and was also taken to Northwestern, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

Edward Bryant had played on the Chicago Demons’ traveling basketball team since sixth grade. | Provided photo

Edward Bryant had played on the Chicago Demons’ traveling basketball team since 6th grade. | Provided photo

The fraternal twins were juniors at Marshall High School in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side after transferring from Lincoln Park High School as freshmen, according Vince Carter, Edward’s coach at the Chicago Demons, a youth basketball program in Old Town. Edwin also played basketball until middle school.

Carter said Edward played on the Demons’ traveling team since 6th grade. Earlier this year, the Demons won the Bigfoot Classic in Houston and the Las Vegas Live tournament. About 30 teams competed in the tournament in Houston and about 75 teams in Las Vegas. “He was a big part of [those wins],” Carter said.

Standing 6-foot-5, Edward played forward and could dunk, Carter said. He “had a Kevin Durant look…and had been coming into his own in the last few years.” He probably would have played college basketball, and Division I college teams “were looking at him.”

“He played hard,” Carter said. “He loved basketball … but you had to push him to realize his potential.”

Lincoln Park High School basketball coach Pat Gordon said students there were taking the loss hard.

“They transferred to Marshall the beginning of last school year, so a lot of our kids know them,” Gordon said.

“It’s been rough on the Lincoln Park community. We have some grief counselors at the school now. … We just want to provide the kids a stage to try and work through it,” he added.

“Edward was the basketball player and Edwin was a football guy, he was two or three inches shorter,” Gordon said. “[Edward] was a talented basketball player and a pretty good student. He was a hard worker. They were very family-oriented. I’m not surprised they were together at that time of night.”

Kobe Mapp, a junior at Bogan High School, had known Edward Bryant since sixth grade. Mapp and several of his friends have changed their Twitter avatars to pictures of Bryant as a tribute.

“He was my best friend,” Mapp said. “He never got into any trouble, he just loved playing basketball and being around people who cared for him.”

Mapp said Bryant spent most of his time playing basketball or talking on the phone with girls.

“Ed was a goofy type of person,” Mapp said. “He got along with everyone very well.”

The Latest
The Skywest Airlines flight from Joplin, Missouri, to Chicago made an emergency landing at Peoria International Airport Thursday morning.
Brumby and Willum, a pair of 2-year-old male koalas, will be viewable to the public at 2 p.m. Tuesday — the first time koalas will inhabit Brookfield Zoo Chicago.
Thomas Pavey of Ormond Beach, Florida, and Raheim Hamilton of Suffolk, Virginia, are accused of owning and operating Empire Market, an online site where thousands of vendors sold illegal goods and services, including heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, counterfeit currency and stolen credit card information, according to the indictment.
Plans for the new Morgridge Family Lakeside Learning Studios were unveiled Friday, along with an expansion of the Shedd’s youth education programs in South and West side neighborhoods. The learning center, she added, will serve about 300,000 young people very year.