CHICAGO, IL- There’s a huge contrast between responsible gun owners and those that are not.
This past week, a Chicago based man who seems to have a history of firearm blunders is now facing some serious charges after an interaction with police had turned into a shooting.
Charges have been filed against a man who was shot in the leg by Chicago police after he allegedly pulled a gun while trying to elude officers that wanted to question him.
Richard Willis, 25, has been charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and aggravated assault against an officer, according to Chicago police.
Carrying a loaded gun in Chicago is illegal, despite it being one of the most dangerous cities in America.
Still, the aggravated unlawful use of a weapon charge could land the man in prison for three years if convicted. As for the aggravated assault against an officer, that also can tote a year behind bars and fines in the thousands on top.
On Wednesday evening earlier this week, officers who were responding to a separate call near the East Garfield Park had spotted Willis at roughly 8:30 pm and made their way over to speak with him after they had witnessed him “adjusting his waistband”.
The officers tried to stop Willis to question him, but he ran and was pursued by the officers, who saw him holding a black handgun as he ran, according to prosecutors.
The foot pursuit had eventually led to a gangway near Springfield Avenue and Wilcox Street where Willis had allegedly pointed a gun toward the officers while fleeing.
The alleged act was met with one of the officers firing his own weapon at Willis, according to prosecutors.
The round fired toward the suspect had caught him in his leg, which thereafter he was able to be detained and have emergency services routed to him for treatment. Apparently, the entire scenario was recorded by the officer’s body-worn camera.
Once the dust had settled on the pursuit-turned-shooting, police on the scene had recovered a 9-mm handgun from Willis that held a live round in the chamber and a magazine that held an additional 16 rounds, according to prosecutors. Willis was later taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago, where he was stabilized.
This wasn’t Willis’ first rodeo for alleged gun handling gone awry.
Less than two months ago on October 15th, he was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon when he accidentally shot a woman while showing his gun to co-workers at a Wendy’s restaurant in Alsip. According to Alsip police Lieutenant Todd Gutkowski:
“Willis was showing off a gun when it accidentally went off once and hit a lady in the leg.”
The female victim in that instance was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn for treatment.
Gutkowski described Willis as being “remorseful,’’ for the incident that played out at the Wendy’s. Just two days later on October. 17th, after posting $5,000, Willis was released from jail.
The hearing that occurred this past Friday on Willis’ latest gun case, prosecutors had requested that Willis be held without bond this time around, pointing out that based upon this latest charge that he could not be trusted to obey court orders if released.
Judge Arthur Wesley Willis agreed, and ordered Willis be held without bail and revoked his bond in the earlier case, as well.
Willis remained hospitalized during Friday’s hearing, while being stable, authorities stated that the bullet that struck his leg and lodged in his scrotum, thus likely requiring surgery.
For the time being, The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the incident. The officer who shot the man has been placed on desk duty for a period of 30 days while COPA examines the circumstances of the shooting.
Congratulations are in order for Chicago. The city, notorious for its gun violence, actually had a 26-hour period during which nobody was shot in the Windy City. An entire day plus two hours.
Of course the next day, 10 people were shot, with 3 being killed. Back to business as usual.
The Chicago Tribune, which actually has a team that tracks shootings in Chicago, reports that through Nov. 23, there have been 2,482 people shot year to date in the city. Believe it or not, that number is DOWN 212 shootings from 2018.
Fox News reported that the Chicago PD has seized over 10,000 guns this year. This comes out to one gun seized every 48 minutes—an increase from one gun per hour last year, according to the Chicago PD.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was beaming about the news.
“I’m immensely proud of CPD for taking 10,000 guns off the streets this year. We really need systematic change to prevent these guns from ever finding their way into the city,” Johnson said.
The 10,000 guns seized number is a huge uptick from the average, which usually is around 7,000 guns per year. Last year and this year saw a substantial increase in that number.
Johnson said that the Chicago PD typically recovers more weapons than say, New York or Los Angeles because, according to him, the states surrounding those cities have stricter gun laws in comparison to Illinois’ bordering states.
“We sit in between Wisconsin and Indiana, who have lax gun laws and it’s easy for the criminal element in Chicago to go across the borders, fill up a duffle bag with guns, and distribute them throughout our city,” Johnson said. “So until we stop those kinds of flows we’re going to continue to see this problem and it just befuddles me that we can’t pass universal background checks.”
On its face, Johnson’s statement about bordering states’ “lax gun laws” is disingenuous, whereby it’s implied that criminals from Chicago cross the state borders, go to gun shops, and are able to legally purchase guns in those states. In fact, stolen firearms are the real issue.
According to TheTrace.org, they, along with NBC5 Chicago and other NBC affiliates reviewed gun theft records. For example in 2016, 4,745 guns were reported stolen in Illinois that year. Since 2005, gun theft nationally nearly doubled to over ¼ million firearm thefts in that period.
The #ChicagoPolice Department has seized more than 10,000 guns this year as we continue to remove illegal guns from city streets.
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) November 25, 2019
TheTrace cited an Urban Institute survey conducted in Chicago where high crime rates were prevalent. In the survey, four out of five at-risk youths cited gun theft as a common means through which their peers armed themselves, not by going to either a gun store or a gun show as some politicians and anti-gun zealots claim.
Johnson did cite the legal system in Chicago, stating that it needed to create a “culture of accountability” that punishes repeat gun offenders more strictly to deter them from reoffending.
“We pick up somebody that’s used an illegal gun. Actually used it. Fired it off. ON the books, it may say that’s a felony but at the end of the day when it’s all said and tone, the guy’s treated like a misdemeanor until about the third time we catch them, then it gets serious,” Johnson told Fox. “The first time you squeeze the trigger you can kill somebody. That’s when you should be treated like that.”
Johnson recently announced that he’s stepping down from his position as Chicago’s top cop.
Martin Prieb, spokesperson for Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 agreed with Johnson. “One of the things police focus on is getting the guns and getting them arrested with guns. That’s a good felony charge,” he said.
However both men said arresting a suspect with a gun doesn’t necessarily mean they will face a felony charge or a stiff sentence.
“That narrative that Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws, that’s just not true. If it was true, we wouldn’t be talking about this. We have gun laws on the books that to me are lacking in certain areas. We need to enforce them more,” Johnson said.
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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also weighed in on the seeming unwillingness of prosecutors and judges to levy stiff sentences on defendants arrested for gun crimes. In August, she demanded answers from judges whom she said let gun offenders walk on bonds as low as a few hundred dollars.
Prieb also weighed in, telling Fox that morale among Chicago PD officers is low because rank and file officers are risking their lives to seize guns from offenders that are not fully prosecuted.
Prieb told Fox, “I think this is happening in a lot of cities when you get these activist prosecutors who are sort of waging a battle with the police,” he said.
In response, the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx responded to the criticism from Lightfoot and others.
“Our office has approved 92 percent of the illegal gun cases brought to us, and has convicted over 7,800 offenders since State’s Attorney Foxx has taken office.”
Foxx of course has other problems, including her bungling of the Jussie Smollett case. Smollett famously made up a story about being beaten up by supporters of President Trump, and was subsequently arrested. Smollett, who was a member of the cast of the Fox Network’s “Empire” subsequently had the charges dropped, which caused outrage.
Foxx is up for reelection and is being opposed in a primary by Bill Conway. Last week, Lightfoot officially endorsed Foxx to remain in public office.
We can’t exactly say we’re surprised, considering the two “leaders” don’t really seem to care about law and order or the safety of their citizens. So why not band together?
WGNTV reported that on Friday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot endorsed Foxx for her 2020 campaign for State’s Attorney, saying she “stood up to the NRA and won. She took on Trump’s war on people of color and immigrants. And she’s working to undo decades of injustice in Cook County.”
She stood up to the NRA and won. She took on Trump’s war on people of color and immigrants. And she’s working to undo decades of injustice in Cook County. pic.twitter.com/a6YovsPbUd
— Lori Lightfoot (@LightfootForChi) November 22, 2019
Foxx’s seat as Cook County State’s Attorney is up for re-election next year. Her opposition will be tough, as former Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney and reserve U.S. Navy intelligence officer, Bill Conway, steps up to give her a run for her money.
Conway says that Foxx has been too lenient on criminal gun offenders, especially as Chicago boasts some of the strictest gun control measures but still sees skyrocketing homicide and violent crime rates.
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