WEST GARFIELD PARK — Officers responding to calls of shots fired in West Garfield Park on Sunday recovered an illegal gun, the 5,000th gun recovered by the department this year.
As gun violence and homicides have spiked dramatically in the first half of 2016, Chicago Police say they are taking more and more guns off the streets while dealing with a small, armed populace that has little regard for the anti-gun laws in place.
Officers have removed 25 percent more guns this year compared to last year at this time, when the department had confiscated 4,232 guns, according to the department.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said Monday the department is being undermined by a criminal justice system that allows the gun owners to go free to further terrorize South and West Side communities.
"CPD officers are doing their jobs by recovering illegal guns and putting offenders in jail," Johnson said at a news conference in West Garfield Park, in a vacant lot where the gun was found. "These people oftentimes get out far too soon to commit the same violent crimes over and over."
Officers with the Harrison District on Sunday responded to calls of shots fired near the 4900 block of West Adams Street, Johnson said.
A resident of the block, Sherrodd Cobbins Jr., said he and other neighbors heard shots ring out for about 10 minutes. He was across the street from his house when he heard shots, and said he and his neighbors ran for cover as soon as they could.
"I was afraid for my life so we started running," Cobbins said. "I went in the house."
Sherrodd Cobbins Jr., (left) and his dad, Sherrodd Cobbins Sr., check out the large police and media presence on their block. [DNAinfo/Joe Ward]
From his house, Cobbins said he saw a man in a black shirt and red jacket run north from Jackson Street through the vacant lot next to his house.
"He just threw a gun and his jacket," Cobbins said.
Officers found the gun in the vacant lot and arrested the alleged shooter, who is a juvenile and a documented gang member, Johnson said.
The juvenile will face gun charges, Johnson said, and for the community's sake, he said he hopes they stick.
"We owe it to this young man to get him the help he needs to turn his life around," Johnson said. "But we owe it to the community to remove him from out streets so he can be held accountable for his actions."
The 5,000th gun recovery happened in West Garfield Park in the Harrison District, one of two districts in the city that Johnson said accounts for the "bulk" of the city's murders this year.
Residents of the Adams Street block where the gun was recovered and where police held a news conference Monday came out of their houses to see why so many officers and news trucks were in the area.
Some residents were shocked to hear that 5,000 guns were taken off the street. It led some to question aloud just how many guns are in Chicago. Johnson said at the news conference he did not have an estimate for how many illegal guns remain in Chicago.
And while Johnson made a familiar plea for harsher gun and sentencing laws, some neighbors wondered how harsher penalties might help keep them safe.
Cobbins's father, Sherrodd Cobbins Sr., said he couldn't believe that so many guns had been confiscated and yet shootings and murders have climbed through the first half of this year.
"It's just ridiculous," Cobbins Sr. said of the amount of shootings in his area.
"How many [people] did they take off the streets with those guns?" he asked. "That's a lot of guns ... but there's killings every day still."
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