Police increase presence over Memorial Day, launch ‘Summer Mobile Initiative’

CHICAGO —Chicago police say they're taking a proactive stance to keep residents and visitors safe over the Memorial Day holiday, as six have been killed and at least 29 wounded by gunfire over the long weekend.

The shootings come despite a major police crackdown involving an additional 1,000 officers deployed over the holiday in areas with higher crime and where people are gathering like the Magnificent Mile, city parks and beaches.

"I believe we have the officers where they need to be at the right place at the right time at those locations, we got more officers on bikes than we ever did so we’re a lot more effective in getting to those areas that were difficult and challenges for us to approach," Deputy Chief Al Nagode said Monday afternoon.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said what’s different this year is the stepped-up support from federal partners. CPD, along with the FBI and ATF have arrested more than 100 people and confiscated 46 guns since Thursday.

Police checked bags on Michigan Ave. at the entrance to Oak Street Beach Monday. Rachel Blazekovic had to throw out some wine.

"We’re not mad about it. Don’t mind we get it because it can get out of control I guess," beach goer Rachel Blazekovic said.

Sunday night, Chicago paramedics came under fire while responding to a shooting near 68th and Bell. They were treating a woman in the ambulance when shots rang out, but no one inside the ambulance was hit by gunfire.

Thirty minutes earlier, a Chicago police sergeant was patrolling the city’s West Town neighborhood when a bullet tore through her front window, grazing her bulletproof vest. Police say the incident was gang-related, with people in one vehicle shooting at another, and the sergeant caught in the middle. She was not injured.

Among the victims of gun violence was a 31-year-old man killed in the 5100 block of west Flournoy St. around 1 a.m. in the South Austin neighborhood.

Chicago police have also been conducting raids since early Thursday morning, rounding up men and women who have outstanding warrants. More than 100 people have been charged with felonies.