Chicago news roundup: Handguns turned into high-capacity machine guns fuel violence, CPS parking deal raises questions and more

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Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. This is a roughly five minute read that will educate you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be sunny with a high of nearly 59 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with lows near 40. Tomorrow will be sunny with highs near 63. Sunday will be cloudy with a chance of showers and highs near 62.

top story

In Chicago, handguns easily turned into high-capacity machine guns fuel growing violence

A Southwest Side gun dealer says he’s enjoying the last thing every Chicago gang member has to have:

A machine gun.

The man, who has a desk job, says he sells illegal machine guns on the side – more than 1,500 last year. Most of the machine guns he peddles are Glock pistols fitted with an aftermarket automatic trigger, known on the streets as a “switch”. It allows the shooter to go from single shots to automatic shots. The guns also come with extended magazines that can hold 20, 30, or even 50 bullets.

“It’s like the hot new thing right now. That’s what’s all the rage right now — light switches,” said the man, who spoke on the condition that he not be named. “And, if you have a switch, you have to have extended magazines or a drum. It’s like hot dogs and mustard.

The number of handguns equipped with a switch and extended magazines seized by Chicago police has increased in recent years, according to a Chicago Sun-Times investigation, WBEZ and NPR found. So has the number of lawsuits filed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office over guns turned into machine guns.

The proliferation of illegal firearms fitted with switches has made Chicago a hot spot for what federal authorities say has become a national problem. It came as mass shootings — in which at least four people are killed or injured — have become more common in Chicago. Federal authorities say they believe the proliferation of these makeshift machine guns is a major reason.

Police Superintendent David Brown agrees. Brown told reporters last month, “The switches that make single-action guns fully automatic along with the high-capacity magazines that hold more bullets with an extended clip have really been the dynamics that have changed the way shots are fired.” and victimization occur. Not just here, but across the country, there has only been an explosion of high-capacity switches and chargers. »

In one case earlier this year, a man holding a pistol-turned-machine gun opened fire shortly after 10:30 p.m. on May 19 into a crowd outside McDonald’s on Chicago Avenue at State Street, killing two people and injuring seven others. The 22-year-old has since been charged in the shooting with first-degree murder and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. During a court hearing, a Cook County prosecutor said the man fired a 9mm Glock 19 handgun equipped with an automatic switch and an extended magazine holding 34 rounds.

He fired in bursts and used his other hand to prop up his shooting arm to prevent his gun from firing, firing 21 times, according to the prosecutor, who said the man told detectives he had already fired from a handgun fitted with a switch.

He also told investigators he purchased the gun in Indiana and could get a switch for less than $25, the prosecutor said.

Our Frank Main, Tom Schuba and Chip Mitchell of WBEZ have more in their investigation deeply reported here.

More news you need

  1. Magazines with a capacity of 30 rounds or more for handguns and rifles were relatively rare among civilians not so long ago. Now they are commonplace – despite local bans. Our Stephanie Zimmermann looks at how high capacity magazines for weapons became a mass item.
  2. A Gulf War veteran in Iraq has been charged with killing an employee of a convenience store in Rogers Park. Salim Khamo, the 66-year-old store owner, came to this country as a refugee from Iraq nearly 30 years ago, reports our Tom Schuba.
  3. A federal judge today ordered a Southern Illinois couple to each spend 14 days in jail for their roles in the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. The judge said he would allow Christopher and Tina Logsdon, of Sesser, to serve their sentences on and off over the weekend – and also put them both on probation for three years.
  4. Chicago Public Schools has reached an agreement with a parking company owned by Carmen A. Rossi, a Chicago nightclub owner who raised money for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s re-election campaign. Rossi’s Chicago Parking Solutions won a two-year contract to park cars at more than a dozen schools, even though the school system said another company made a better offer. Our Tim Novak and Lauren FitzPatrick take a look at the details of the deal here.
  5. Many Chicagoans got into the Halloween spirit this year by decorating their living spaces – and our photographers captured some of the elaborate, haunting and creative decorations adorning homes across the city. These are our picks for the best Halloween decorations this year. 🎃

A bright

For the West Loop foundry, the artist painted a mural of a fiery alligator

This giant alligator painted on a wall at 1523 W. Hubbard St. this summer almost appears to be burning with its searing oranges and reds, as if it had just emerged from a flaming cauldron.

That’s by design, says the artist, Christian Stanley, given the location – at Universal Electric Foundry, which melts the metal and pours it “into molds to make parts for many special uses.”

“We always research the area or the building and look for ways to tie the meaning together where possible,” says Stanley, 35, who painted the mural in August. “The foundry had images online with a nice shiny metal, and we tried to incorporate some of that warmth and glow into the mural as well.”

Why an alligator?

“We wanted to bring a bit of Florida to Chicago,” says Stanley, who lives in Orlando.

Orlando artist Christian Stanley painted this mural, which he titled “Luck,” in August on Hubbard Street, just east of Ashland Avenue.

He says he nicknamed his creature “Chance” and gave the piece the same name because, while painting it, he kept hearing about Chance the Snapper – the alligator who was caught in a lagoon in Humboldt Park and named after Chance the Rapper from Chicago. .

Stanley says his wife Jessica Stanley helped paint the mural, which is 52 feet wide and 22 feet high, took five days and was produced as part of Chicago’s Titan Walls arts festival.

It is a short walk from two other murals done on West Hubbard Street in 2020 for the same festival.

You can find the full story on Stanley’s mural here.

From the press gallery

Your daily question☕

What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?

Email us at [email protected] and we might feature your response in the next afternoon edition.

Yesterday we asked you: what is the most underrated park in Chicago?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Calumet Park on the east side of Chicago. They have wonderful areas for picnics, sports and you have a great view of the lake.” — Maurice Snell

“Lincoln Park North Pond near the Peggy Notebaert Museum of Nature. An oasis of nature in the city. — Julie Kilzer

“The Steelworkers Park on the southern part of Lake Shore Drive. Great rooftop views and lots of cool things to do. — Alex Kazmierczak

“Humboldt Park is so beautiful especially right now with all the trees changing color.” — Candice Martinez

“Shabbona Park – baseball in the spring. Has a large indoor pool. — Robert Lisowski

“Washington Park on the Southside, especially in early spring – the lagoons and water lilies got me through the lockdown. I had no idea this park was so beautiful. — Sherronda Bohanon

“Legion Park via River Park was a nice walk when I lived there. (Peterson to Lawrence). — Julien Christophe Smasal

“Welles Park on Lincoln. Plenty of room to walk. Grab a book from the Sulzer Library, cross the street and watch a football match or a game of petanque. Great place to relax all year round. — Steven McElyea

“Jackson Park! Nice Japanese garden they have in there. We’ve been going there for years. We took our wedding photos there recently. — Lisandra Vazquez

“Ping Tom Memorial Park.” — Jen Espino

“Douglas Park. The waterfalls and lagoon animals with plant life are beautiful. —Jeannette Wachewicz Valtierra

“Milton Lee Olive Park. Perfect views and well hidden.”— Matt Zaif

“Davis Square Park.” — Nrique Rodriguez

“Sherman Park on the south side.” — Nate Davis

“Hiawatha Park.” — Angie Opitz

“Nicolas Park.” —Aaron J.

“Most underrated park: Henry C. Palmisano Nature Park, 2700 S. Halsted. In an old quarry, you descend to a picturesque fishing pond. Incredibly quiet despite being a block from the Stevenson Freeway, this underground oasis is unexpected. As you are fishing here in the middle of town, you might be in the forest reserve, instead of on Halsted Street in Bridgeport. —Roger Deschner

“Berger Park in Edgewater. It’s small and intimate along the lake. They have benches where you can sit and read or listen to music while watching the waves.” —howard moore

“Eugene Field Park is a public park located along the North Fork of the Chicago River in the Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago. The park is named after author Eugene Field. The park was laid out, designed and built between 1923 and 1930, with the Clarence Hatzfeld-designed country house completed in 1930 under the auspices of Albany Park. — Robert Kastigar

“With its arched stone bridges, Burnham-designed pitch and moated ball diamonds, Sherman Park looks like something out of a fairy tale and one of the sleepiest parks in the city. — Zachary Whittenburg

Thanks for reading the afternoon edition of the Chicago Sun-Times.Think we missed a story? Email us here.

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