Chicago police arrest 300, nab 100 weapons in 3-day drug crackdown
BY ART GOLAB, HUNTER CLAUSS AND JAMES SCALZITTI Staff Reporter August 26, 2012 12:42PM
Guns confiscated by Chicago Police | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
Updated: September 28, 2012 6:16AM
Chicago police arrested more than 300 people and confiscated over 100 guns when they busted street gang drug sales operations in 10 police districts across the city over the weekend, officials said.
But the police sweeps did not stop the bad guys from posting some big numbers too: Nine killed and at least 47 wounded from Thursday through Sunday.
The sweeps targeted districts that had the biggest jumps in shootings and were part of a overall strategy to reduce violence, officials said. Most of those arrested were convicted felons and 99 percent were gang members, they added.
“We’re talking about narcotics, convicted felons and firearms, that’s the heart of the problem we face,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in a news conference Sunday. “So, this has a direct impact on what we’re doing to try and prevent gang violence.”
The superintendent conceded the operation had “mixed results as far as stopping shootings and murders,” this weekend.
“Some places did better than others,” he said.
But he added that the main purpose of the sweeps was to get drugs and guns off the streets — leading to future reductions in violence.
Of those arrested, most are convicted felons and 99 percent were gang members.
“We’re talking about narcotics, convicted felons and firearms, that’s the heart of the problem we face,” McCarthy said. “So, this has a direct impact on what we’re doing to try and prevent gang violence.”
Much of the weekend violence was in the 6th district — covering Auburn-Gresham and Chatham — where there were three murders and 11 shootings.
McCarthy attributed some of the violence there to gang retaliation for shootings that happened a month ago.
The sweeps involved undercover narcotics division cops who bought drugs, followed by tactical teams who made the arrests.
The districts targeted had the biggest jumps in shootings and the areas targeted within the districts were selected by district commanders as their most problematic locations, officials said.
McCarthy said all the prisoners arrested in the drug buys were questioned and some of their answers led to more drugs and guns being confiscated. Investigators have also developed leads to shootings and murders, officials said.
“These people sometimes talk to us when they’re in handcuffs, even when they don’t talk to us on the street,” McCarthy said.
Two of the 6th District murders happened Saturday around 1:20 p.m., when Christopher Spraggins, 20, and an 18-year-old man were fatally shot in the 7900 block of South St. Lawrence Avenue,
Spraggins was dead on the scene. The 18-year-old was shot in the leg died later at a hospital.
In Calumet Heights in the neighboring 4th District, Rashad Pratt, 28, was found dead at 2:58 a.m. with multiple gunshot wounds inside a vehicle near East 91st Street and South East End Avenue. Pratt lived in the 9000 block of South Ridgeland.
In Kenwood, Stephin Wilkins, 23, was sitting in a vehicle with his girlfriend about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday in the 4900 block of South Drexel when two people walked up with a handgun and tried robbing him, police said. Wilkins tried fighting the robbers and was shot multiple times and died, officials said.
A man and a 17-year-old boy have since been charged in that shooting.
On Friday, about 8 p.m., Phillip McCall, 34, was shot twice in the back and killed in the 8800 block of South Indiana. McCall lived in the 200 block of East 89th.
At 5:42 p.m., Lucian Dreux, 17, was shot and killed in the 7900 block of South Drexel by someone riding by in a mountain bike fired shots, authorities said.
A 42-year-old woman was also shot and was listed in good condition at Stroger Hospital, police said.
About the same time that Dreux was shot, 30-year-old Noah Cruz suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest in the 3000 block of South Wallace, authorities said. Cruz, of the 800 block of West 31st Street, was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he later died, authorities said.