A three-month investigation has led to two arrests and the seizure of 35 guns, dozens of loaded magazines and models used to produce “ghost guns,” Chicago’s top cop said Thursday.
Police Supt. David Brown said two “polymer models” recovered in last Saturday’s raid in the 300 block of West 110th Street were able to produce guns that don’t have serial numbers and can’t be traced.
“Just imagine if these guns... had hit the streets of Chicago,” Brown told reporters at police headquarters. “I can’t help but think of all the lost futures and the devastations of families and neighborhoods and businesses these firearms could have caused once in the hands of violent criminals.”
As of Thursday, Chicago police officers have recovered 284 guns just 13 days into the year, Brown said.
With his department under pressure to increase arrests, Brown noted that at least 56 people have been taken into custody this year for carjackings.
“Don’t think for one moment that we’re going to let you get away with this,” Brown said. “We are going to pursue you and bring you to justice for the crimes that have occurred in the past that you continue to do, you will be held accountable, so don’t think for one minute we just going to let you get away with this.”
Brown’s news conference comes the day after an especially violent night in Chicago: Two 14-year-old boys were killed in separate shootings; a 29-year-old pregnant woman was fatally shot in Englewood; and a mass shooting in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood wounded four people.
No arrests had been made in any of those shootings as of Thursday morning.
Brown asked the public’s help in solving those cases, noting that there are cash rewards up to $15,000 for information leading to a conviction in a homicide case, and up to $5,000 for tips involving gun trafficking. He encouraged people to call the tip line at 833-408-0069.
Last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Brown signaled to police leaders in a closed-door meeting that they’ll lose their jobs if they can’t bolster arrest numbers and get officers to engage more with city residents.
A few days later, Brown reassigned most tactical officers to patrol streets in beat cars and answer more 911 calls, the Sun-Times reported.
On Wednesday, Brown said the recent surge in COVID-19 cases prompted the decision.
On Thursday, Brown took issue with some details of the Sun-Times report and suggested there had been no real change because tactical officers usually respond to 911 calls. But then he joked, “Cops hate the way things are, they hate change.”
“One of the reactions to the fear of change is obviously we get sources calling [the media], using you to push back against change, and I will say it’s just so important for officer safety, for building trust... we are going to change,” Brown said.
Brown said it was important for the department to rebuild the community’s trust.
“We know that building trust means alleviating fear. This year, we set the goal for our department to have more and more positive community interactions,” Brown said. “Our hope with this — this is the most difficult time to be a police officer in this country without a question... but the men and women of the Chicago Police Department are dedicated, committed to protecting the people of Chicago.”