Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.
Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.
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This is the story of how a handgun that police recovered after a foot chase was linked to one of the biggest mass shootings in modern Chicago history.
It starts late last year, when people gathered at a house in Englewood to celebrate the life of a slain young man. An argument over a woman set off a shootout in the house that spilled outside, police said. Thirteen people were wounded at the house in the 5700 block of South May Street.
After the Dec. 22 shooting, Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke at a hospital where six of the shooting victims were treated. She called it a “terrible tragedy and frankly an incredible act of cowardice” and said, “We can’t normalize this kind of behavior and tragedy in our city.”
On Dec. 30, Chicago police officers spotted a man walking on a sidewalk in Englewood with a black pistol grip sticking out of his coat pocket. The man ran, but the cops caught him after a short foot chase and said they recovered a loaded 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun.
Kameron Irvin, 21, pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a weapon and was sentenced to probation and 50 hours of community service. He wasn’t charged in connection with the Dec. 22 shooting but was at the scene, according to police records. He was wounded during the mass shooting.
Even though Irvin wasn’t accused of being one of the shooters, the police still wanted to know where he got the gun. So they worked with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to trace the ownership of the Smith & Wesson, as they do with thousands of weapons they recover every year.
They used a federal database called the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network to compare markings on bullets test-fired from the Smith & Wesson against millions of images of ballistic evidence from crime scenes across the country. That linked the gun to 13 expended bullet cartridges found at the scene of the Englewood mass shooting, authorities say.
According to ATF, the ballistics database has gotten more than 126,000 such “hits” across the country during its 23-year history.
The serial number on the gun was obliterated. But investigators still were able to recover it.
Criminals often use a grinder to erase the serial number from a gun. To recover it so the gun can be traced, lab technicians polish the surface and apply a corrosive solution, sometimes containing hydrochloric acid. That corrodes the area, now highlighting the previously vanished serial numbers because of the way they’d been punched into the metal.
Using that unique identifier, ATF officials searched firearms purchase records and found that a man named Eric Blackman had bought the gun at Eagle Sports Range in Oak Forest.
More news you need
- Illinois’ average coronavirus testing positivity rate reached its highest point in five months today as public health officials announced a second straight record-breaking day of 6,943 new infections statewide. The soaring tally raised the statewide average testing positivity rate over the last week to 7.3%.
- Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled a 10-day “preparedness and safety plan” focused on Election Day, which relies on a heavy police presence and the use of as many as 300 trucks to block neighborhood commercial corridors. She is asking Chicagoans to “channel your emotions” into peaceful, productive means of expression.
- Last year’s graduating class of Illinois high schoolers took thousands more Advanced Placement exams than their predecessors and passed those tests at higher rates, newly released data shows. Here’s what else was in the Illinois State Board of Education’s annual Report Card, made public today.
- A Lake County judge is expected to rule later today whether an Antioch teen accused of killing two people and injuring another person during the Kenosha protests should be returned to Wisconsin to face murder charges there. Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, is being held in the Lake County juvenile detention facility.
- Don’t forget:The clock goes back one hour on Sunday morning, Nov. 1, the “fall back” for daylight saving time. Here’s when (and how) to reset your clocks.
A bright one
A year after Miguel Perez Jr. fought his deportation and became a U.S. citizen, he’s among the newly naturalized citizens in Chicago who are casting their votes for president for the first time this year.
“I know most generations say the same thing about their election, ‘Oh, back in the day, that was the election of the century,’” Perez said. “This one is very crucial to the times we are living in — not only the pandemic, but everything. We really need change.”
Perez joined the U.S. Army and served in Afghanistan before he was deported to Mexico in 2018 after being convicted of a drug offense. Gov. J.B. Pritkzer pardoned him last year, opening the door for him to return to the United States to reopen his citizenship case.
The 42-year-old voted in the primary in March, but this will be his first time voting in a general election for president.
He is one of more than 23 million U.S. immigrants nationwide eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election. Voter participation among immigrant voters is lower than U.S.-born voters, but naturalized citizens in the Latino community have a higher rate of voter participation than Latinos born here, according to the Pew Research Center.
Rissi Pacheco, who was born in Belize, is also among those in Chicago who are voting for president for the first time. Months after becoming a naturalized citizen, she recently deposited her early ballot at a secure drop-off location.
“It felt amazing to be able to impact what our government is going to look like and how that is going to affect my community and the communities around me,” Pacheco, 30, said. “I’m very proud.”
From the press box
The Bears, who have yet to figure out how to get a franchise quarterback, could emulate what the Saints did when they acquired Drew Brees, writes Patrick Finley. Brees and the Saints face the Bears at Soldier Field Sunday at 3:25 p.m. on Fox-32.
White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is clearly the force behind the team hiring Tony La Russa as manager. Steve Greenberg says that La Russa might be too old-school to manage the young White Sox, but he sounds sincere about his eagerness to return to the dugout.
The Fire play at Nashville at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow on WGN-9.
Your daily question☕
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