CHICAGO, IL — FBI officials in Chicago have received intelligence indicating that several street gangs have formed a pact to execute police officers who draw their weapons on suspects.
ABC7 received a federal intelligence alert on Aug. 26 that warned nearly three dozen street gangs formed a pact to “shoot on-sight any cop that has a weapon drawn on any subject in public.”
Chicago police officers may be targeted by gang cabal, according to FBI Chicago office.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) September 1, 2020
The “situational information report” from FBI officials in Chicago states “members of these gang factions have been actively searching for, and filming, police officers in performance of their official duties. The purpose of which is to catch on film an officer drawing his/her weapon on any subject and the subsequent ‘shoot on-site’ of said officer, in order to garner national media attention,” according to ABC7.
Alerts based on police intelligence, no matter how unspecific, are frequently distributed to law enforcement agencies according to investigators, especially when they involve threats to officers.
The FBI’s “Potential Activity Alert” is from “a contact whose reporting is limited and whose reliability cannot be determined.” That could mean the information came from a police street source, a cooperating witness in an ongoing case, or from discussions overheard on a wiretap or other surveillance recording, according to ABC7.
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According to Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown, there is an overall sense of lawlessness felt by local police, and the danger to officers is increasing:
“I think it’s bigger than a suggestion. I think 51 officers being shot at or shot in one year, I think that quadruples any previous year in Chicago’s history. So, I think it’s more than a suggestion that people are seeking to do harm to cops.”
41 Chicago Police officers shot *at* so far this year
10 officers shot
6,967 guns recovered so far this year
— Audrina Bigos (@AudrinaBigos) August 31, 2020
The alleged pact comes amid national protests over several high-profile incidents between black suspects and police officers. Arson, looting, murder and other violent acts in cities across the country have skyrocketed since the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody.
During the final weekend in August, 54 people, including two Chicago police officers, were shot. The officers were injured but expected to live, however, 10 people died as a result of shootings throughout the city.
Offender’s Firearm recovered at scene of two Officers shot at Polk & Spaulding this AM pic.twitter.com/Los3wbZEWC
— Tom Ahern (@TomAhernCPD) August 30, 2020
The man who shot two police officers is Jeffon Williams, 19, who was arrested and charged with seven counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated assault of a police officer. A judge set his bond at $10 million cash Monday afternoon, but he will be held without bail for violating the terms of bond in previous cases and is due back in court Sept. 16, according to CBS.
I visited with the officers at the hospital where they are being treated, and I ask all of Chicago to join me in keeping them and their families in our prayers.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) August 30, 2020
Police were responding to a call of a person with a gun. Williams was located inside a vehicle with a gun that he used against the police officers.
We gathered at Stroger Hospital overnight to support two of our officers who were shot while bravely protecting this city. Please keep these officers and their families in your thoughts as they recover from their injuries. pic.twitter.com/mSGSFMfZXj
— Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown (@ChiefDavidBrown) August 30, 2020
Supt. Brown said one officer was shot in the shoulder and then treated and released at Stroger Hospital of Cook County. The second officer was shot in the torso and arm and suffered damage to his lung and colon and is intubated, according to Brown. That officer underwent surgery on Sunday and might require another operation.
Just this year, 10 Chicago Police officers have been shot and 41 officers have had shots fired at them. Let's not lose sight of the courage our officers show as they risk their own safety to protect this city. pic.twitter.com/gEncrkASX8
— Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown (@ChiefDavidBrown) August 31, 2020
Both officers are men in their early 20s who have been on the force for about two years.
Police said when they asked Williams for a statement, he said, “(Expletive) that officer, I hope he dies.
Criminal Court Judge John F. Lyke Jr. said Williams showed “utter disregard for any person, any human being.”
It is not clear if Williams had any affiliation with a gang.
In a rare move for the city early Sunday, both Supt. Brown and Mayor Lori Lightfoot held a news conference before the sun was even up – just two hours after the shooting happened. The move was deliberate in order to stop the spread of false information.
Last month, false social media posts about a 15-year-old boy shot by police spread like wildfire online and was linked to the night of unrest and looting that followed on Aug. 10. What actually happened was a 20-year-old suspect with a long criminal history shot at police, who then returned fire, according to CBS.
While Lightfoot had said initially the looting last month was a result of anger over a police-involved shooting, she later described the rampage to TIME as a planned attack:
“When people showed up on Michigan Avenue in the downtown area with U-Haul trucks and cargo vans, and sophisticated equipment used to cut metal, and the methods that were used, and how quickly it got spun up… that wasn’t any spontaneous reaction.”
#ChicagoPolice Public Transportation officers recovered two dangerous firearms last night near Grand Ave & Clark St after stopping a box truck for improper lane change. Burglary tools in the truck were also recovered. Two offenders were taken into custody and charged accordingly. pic.twitter.com/r85TUYCKsF
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) August 11, 2020
The FBI alert, headlined “Pact Made by People Nation Gang Factions to ‘Shoot On-Site’ Any Police Officer with a Weapon Drawn” lists street gangs that have become well-known in Chicago the past five decades, from the Latin Kings and Vice Lords to the El Rukns and Black P Stones, according to ABC7.
Supt. Brown said on Monday the spike in attacks on police makes it clear to him that “people are seeking to do harm to cops.”
“We need police officers and as community members we need to push back fervently against lawlessness,” Brown said.
Federal authorities have not offered any further information concerning the intelligence bulletin, and Chicago police confirmed they are aware of the gang threat and are taking the necessary precautions to keep their officers safe.
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