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Alderman Threatened By Gangs Vows To Continue To Speak Out Against Them

By Heather Cherone | May 9, 2017 1:51pm | Updated on May 12, 2017 11:47am
 Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) reportedly has been threatened by a Southwest Side gang.
Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) reportedly has been threatened by a Southwest Side gang.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) said Tuesday he will continue to speak out against "gang and gun violence" despite threats of retaliation against him from a Southwest Side gang that prompted Chicago police to assign officers to protect the rookie lawmaker.

The threat was sparked by Lopez' comments to reporters that the Brighton Park shooting that left two dead and eight wounded claimed "no innocent lives."

"I'm thankful because today, no innocent lives were lost. No children were shot. No police officers were shot. But that will not always be the case," he said at a rally on Sunday, according to video posted by WGN and other news outlets.

He later was heckled by relatives of the victims at another appearance, the Sun-Times reported.

Lopez said Tuesday he stood by his statement and would not alter his plans because of the threats. He said bodyguards are now assigned to keep watch outside his home and office and shadow him in public.

"I will continue doing what I have done since I was elected, which is to stand up for my communities and to fight back against gang and gun violence that has been plaguing them for decades," Lopez said at City Hall.

Lopez worked as a skycap at Midway Airport for 12 years before being elected to the City Council in 2015.

Lopez said Monday the killings were part of a gang feud that started last year and has involved assault weapons. Two officers were injured during the conflict when police said attackers armed with rifles mistook them for rival gang members.

"We have people who are willing to kill indiscriminately to maintain this culture of gang violence and retaliatory warfare in our communities," Lopez said. "Standing up against that is what brought this on, not remaining silent is what brought this on."

Citing police sources, the Sun-Times reported that the Satan Disciples made the threats against the alderman. The people injured and killed were affiliated with the Satan Disciples, sources told the newspaper.

Lopez said the conflict has been exacerbated because residents of the largely Latino area have been afraid to speak to police since the Trump administration threatened to send immigration officials to sanctuary cities like Chicago.