By Rebekah Riess and Steve Almasy, CNN
Two people were killed and seven wounded Thursday night after a man fired into a crowd during a “personal conflict” between two arguing groups, according to Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown.
Police patrolling the area saw two groups arguing and when officers tried to wade their way into the crowd, a shooter fired then ran with other members of his group with officers close behind, Brown said.
The gunman fled onto a transit train platform but was caught by police, Brown said.
“I’m confident that our officers captured the shooter and recovered the weapon used,” he told reporters. Brown said police are working with the state’s attorney on pending charges.
A woman who was with the group that fled onto the platform was severely shocked on the rail line and is in critical condition, according to the superintendent.
Another person was arrested for obstructing the officers from making an arrest.
Brown called for judges to do more to help with the crisis.
“We are awash with guns and I would continue to beat the drum of consequences in the courts for people who have violent crime histories, who are then arrested for possessing a gun illegally; they should not be released,” Brown urged. “This is a gun crime crisis. Violent offenders need to be held more accountable for possessing illegal guns than they do right now in our criminal courts, by judges.”
Earlier in the day, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she asked Brown to set up a fixed post of uniformed officers at the area of the deadly shooting.
Chicago’s City Council President Pro Tem, Alderman Brendan Reilly, said fixed posts were already supposed to be in place at the intersection.
“The daily excuses coming out of the Superintendent’s Office insult intelligence & are infuriating. City Council needs to step-in & demand accountability. Their strategy is failing us miserably,” he tweeted.
Chicago records more murders each year than any other city in America (despite New York and Los Angeles both having significantly more people), and recorded more than 800 homicides in 2021 for the first time in 25 years.
Its police department also takes more guns through enforcement than any other city.
According to the city’s Violence Reduction Dashboard, there have been 221 homicides through May 18, about 8% lower than on the same date last year.
Violent crime is likely to play a role in the mayoral election next February. Already, one of Lightfoot’s challengers, Alderman Ray Lopez, has cited public safety as the most important issue.
Officials recently launched a fundraising campaign to support the city’s largest ever gun buyback program, with the goal of raising $1 million to entice people to turn in guns during two large events this year.
Lightfoot, who began her first term in 2019, called it a “bold new initiative” and said it would get “guns out of the hands of dangerous people.” Chicago and other cities have been running such programs for decades, often trading gift cards of $100 or so for guns and some lesser amount for replica guns.
Chicago officials annually take in hundreds of guns through buyback programs. But decades of research shows the programs do not reduce gun violence, in large part because they don’t result in guns being taken from people who aren’t supposed to have them. One recent study found “no evidence that (gun buyback programs) reduce suicides or homicides where a firearm was involved.”
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CNN’s Peter Nickeas contributed to this report.