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Police: Shootings down 40 percent after weekend multi-agency crime crackdown

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Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson discussed the weekend crackdown on gangs and violence in some of Chicago's high crime neighborhoods Monday afternoon. (WLS)

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson discussed the weekend crackdown on gangs and violence in some of Chicago's high crime neighborhoods Monday afternoon. Police collaborated with state and federal agencies to beef up patrols on the South and West Sides.

Police said they began planning the operation after an especially violent Halloween weekend. They saw a high likelihood retaliatory shootings and they flooded various neighborhoods with officers. And officials said that effort paid off.

Chicago police were joined by federal authorities, Cook County sheriff's deputies and state police. The added manpower targeted areas plagued by violence, much of it driven by gangs and drugs.

"Our combined efforts were meant to send a clear message to criminals in these communities that their actions will not go without consequence, and to let residents know that we're there to help them take their communities back," Johnson said at a Monday afternoon press conference.

The operation included saturation patrols, stepped up traffic enforcement and parolee compliance checks. Police said citywide there were 37 shooting incidents over the weekend, down from 63 the weekend before; a reduction of more than 40 percent.

Officials also said in the zones that were the focus of the operation, there was only one shooting.

"The first shooting is pretty tough to stop. The retaliatory one is the easiest shooting to stop. But in those zones, we prevented not just the retaliatory but that initial shooting," Johnson said.

Police said similar weekend deployments are planned for the future as part of a long-term strategy that includes hiring more officer and an appeal to Springfield for tougher gun offender sentencing laws.

"And until our long-term plans begin to take effect, we'll keep chipping away and doing what we need to do to prevent this violence," Johnson said.

Police said the operation involved hundreds of additional personnel. When ABC7 Eyewitness News asked Supt. Johnson why not have this type of deployment every weekend, he said it would put a strain on resources.

Five of the 37 weekend shootings were fatal, police said. The most recent fatal shooting happened early Monday in the Brighton Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side.
Officers responding at 3:40 a.m. to a call of a person shot found the 26-year-old lying on the sidewalk in the 2500-block of West 47th Street, police said. He had suffered gunshot wounds to the left shoulder and right leg and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

About 7:10 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to a call of shots fired in the 7200-block of South Phillips Avenue in the South Shore neighborhood and found a 25-year-old man unresponsive on the ground, police said. He was shot on the right side of his body and taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Cook County medical examiner's office did not immediately provide information on those fatalities.

Earlier Sunday, a man was shot to death outside a gas station in the South Austin neighborhood on the West Side. Officers responding at 1:59 a.m. to a call of a person shot in the 4800-block of West Madison found the man, thought to be in his 20s, with multiple gunshot wounds to his abdomen and chest. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:37 a.m., authorities said. The medical examiner's office has not yet released his name.

At 3:21 a.m. Saturday, a man was shot to death in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side. Officers responding to reports of shots fired found the 31-year-old lying in an alley in the 100-block of South California, authorities said. He had been shot in the head, left arm and left leg. The man was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:53 a.m. His name has not been released.

Another 31-year-old man was shot to death a little more than an hour earlier in the West Lawn neighborhood on the Southwest Side. About 2 a.m., he was driving in the 6800-block of South Springfield when someone outside fired shots, hitting him in the chest, police said. He was driven to Holy Cross Hospital and was transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name has not been released.
The weekend's latest nonfatal shooting happened about 11:50 p.m. Sunday when a 46-year-old man was caught in crossfire in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side. He was walking on the sidewalk in the 7300-block of South Stewart when two groups began firing shots at each other and he was struck in the left leg, police said. He took himself to Saint Bernard Hospital, where he was listed in good condition.

At least 31 other people were wounded in shootings between 10 p.m. Friday and 10 p.m. Sunday in Chicago.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
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