With three months still to go in 2016, Chicago has already topped 530 homicides and 3,250 shootings, far more than in all of 2015. The Chicago Tribune tells the story of one gun that was used in at least five shootings that left two dead and five others wounded. It started when a young woman found her apartment broken into, and the small safe she kept under her bed was missing, along with the black .40-caliber Glock handgun she kept inside. Over the next year, that Glock would fire 42 bullets, leaving shell casings scattered on walkways, porches, and side streets.
Officers found the weapon — loaded with 21 rounds and hidden in a Nike shoebox — during a routine check in 2015 at a parolee’s home, just blocks from where it had been stolen. An extended magazine had been added for firepower and a laser sight for accuracy. The story of the Glock’s journey from safe to shoebox comes at a tumultuous time for Chicago as homicides spike to levels unseen in the city for two decades. The Glock illustrates the devastation — both human and financial — that a single gun can leave behind. The Tribune spent several months retracing the gun’s movements, visiting each shooting scene, talking to residents who two years later still remember the gunfire that interrupted their lives, speaking to the only victim willing to talk. The Glock was what police call a gang gun, passed among its members as needed. Its devastation — unusual for one firearm in a year’s time — was spread over a significant stretch of the city’s South Side.