The shooting of a federal agent in the South Side of Chicago on May 4 was the fourth time a law enforcement officer was shot in the neighborhood over the past year.
An agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was shot in the face, the Chicago Tribune reported on May 4. In July 2017, a Chicago police officer was shot in the leg while pursuing robbery suspects in the same area, and two more were shot — one in the arm and hip and the other in the back — while surveilling from an unmarked van.
“We will find you,” Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters at a news conference. “We will knock on every door, talk to every witness, watch every piece of video and analyze every piece of evidence. Believe me, you will not get away with this.”
The ATF agent’s name has not been released, but he’s recovering from his wounds in a Chicago hospital and is expected to survive. Authorities credit the surge in police shootings to a corresponding spike in gang activity. Attorney General Jeff Sessions assigned a contingent of ATF officers to Chicago to stem the flow of illegal firearms in 2017. The shooting victim is one of those agents.
The area of South Chicago where the officers were shot is known colloquially as the Back of the Yards. It’s been a hotbed for gang activity for years, with 140 people shot by rifle-wielding gang members between the fall of 2016 and the end of 2017, causing 50 fatalities. The gang known as the Almighty Saints has controlled the area where the ATF agent was shot for 50 years, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The CPD’s partnership with the ATF is aimed at getting these high-powered rifles out of criminal hands.
“Beyond cooperation with the community and good old-fashioned police work, solving gun crime cases takes a high level investigative tool and expert ballistics analysis,” Johnson said when the partnership was announced. “While we still have a great deal of work ahead of us, I can say without a doubt that we’re committed to making our neighborhoods safer. These resources are the next step in that process.”
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