He doesn’t have a household name like Larry Hoover, Jeff Fort or other infamous leaders of Chicago gangs.
Lawrence “Big Law” Loggins kept a low profile — no mentions in the newspaper and no arrests since he was released from prison in 2009.
But he was the head of the Black Disciples, one of Chicago’s most notorious gangs, police say. And he was trying to consolidate power before he was shot to death Wednesday night, according to law enforcement sources.
Now, the Chicago Police Department is bracing for a potential bloodbath on the South Side in retaliation for Loggins’ murder, officials said Friday. Anthony Guglielmi, chief spokesman for the department, said investigators are working to prevent those revenge killings.
Message boards on the Internet were buzzing Friday about the possible motive for the killing. Rapper Lil Durk tweeted out “RIP Big Law.”
Loggins, 46, was shot in the head at 9:08 p.m. Wednesday as he stood near a Nissan Rogue in the 7100 block of South Union Avenue, police said. He was found face-down on the driver’s seat of the sport-utility vehicle.
A man wounded in the shooting told police the attackers ran through an empty lot, taking off in a gray Infiniti sedan.
Loggins, who also used the last name Lee, went to prison for a 1989 gang murder in Lowe Park on the South Side, records show. He was released in 2009, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections. Unlike most gang members, he doesn’t even have an arrest photo in the police department’s computer database.
Tio Hardiman, former director of the anti-violence group CeaseFire Illinois, said Loggins approached him after he got out of prison. Hardiman, now president of Violence Interrupters Inc., said Loggins became a “violence interrupter.”
“Lawrence interrupted at least 20 conflicts that could have turned deadly” while he was with CeaseFire, Hardiman said. “Lawrence had another side — he was a peacemaker.”
But law-enforcement sources said Loggins was trying to consolidate power over the Black Disciples in the Englewood, Gresham and Grand Crossing police districts on the South Side. He wanted to return a corporate governance structure to the street gang, they said.
From the 1970s through the mid-2000s, the gang’s leaders had issued orders to lower-level members through a rigid hierarchy.
Gang experts have estimated that 15,000 people were members of the Black Disciples during that period. Low-level members who ignored orders were beaten or killed and were required to pay a “street tax” from the proceeds of their drug deals and other crimes.
Today, independent factions of the Black Disciples operate on the South Side and the younger generation of members has bristled at the idea of losing their autonomy, sources said.
On Wednesday, Loggins called junior members of the gang into a meeting and “chewed them out,” a source said. Some police officials believe he was killed as a result of that meeting.
The struggle for control over the Black Disciples has been bloody over the past year, with other members of the gang’s “old guard” also being killed, sources said.
Loggins’ 29-year-old son Lawrence “Lil’ Law” Lee is a leader of the Lamron faction of the Black Disciples, according to the police. He’s serving a 15-year prison term for attempted murder.
The Lamron faction’s gang territory runs along Normal Avenue from 59th to 67th Streets in Englewood. Lamron is Normal spelled backwards.
The rapper Chief Keef, who’s associated with the Black Disciples, has popularized the Lamron faction by mentioning it in his music.
The Black Disciples were founded in the 1960s under the leadership of David Barksdale. Jerome “Shorty” Freeman was crowned the king of the Black Disciples in 1974 after Barksdale’s death.
Freeman went to prison in 1990 on a drug conviction, and Marvel Thompson became the de facto leader of the Black Disciples on the streets, holding that role until the FBI arrested him in a sweeping drug conspiracy case in 2004, according to law enforcement authorities.
According to federal authorities, Thompson ran a politically connected, hierarchical and sophisticated operation. His drug workers would tune in to a Christian radio frequency that Thompson pirated, according to the FBI, using the radio frequency to warn his troops about police activity. Thompson took in millions of dollars through mortgage-fraud schemes and drug dealing, according to federal authorities.
Under Thompson, the gang had connections in the business and political worlds. One of his top lieutenants, Donnell Jehan, dated a Chicago alderman, Arenda Troutman, who later went to prison for corruption.
Thompson and his lieutenants went to prison in the federal case in 2005.
The same year, Freeman got out of prison. He said he no longer was involved in the gang, though the police didn’t believe it. Freeman died of natural causes in 2012.