Chicago’s police officers have been warned of the increasing use by gang members of rifles able to pierce police body armor, after a spate of shootings with assault-style weapons, the Wall Street Journal reports. On Sunday, two men armed with assault-style rifles shot 10 people, police said. The victims, two of whom died, were attending a memorial for a person shot and killed that day in the Brighton Park neighborhood on the southwest side. “Two subjects came out of an alley, and opened fire with rifles,” said Police Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro. The victims were standing at the spot where the person was killed, marked by candles and balloons.
Yesterday, officers were issued a safety bulletin warning them to expect a higher presence of gang members with assault-style rifles in that neighborhood. Additional tactical and gang-response units have been deployed to the area to quell possible violence. Sunday’s bloodshed comes days after a van pulled alongside plainclothes police officers in an unmarked surveillance vehicle and opened fire with similar military-style rifles, injuring both officers. Police believe the officers weren’t targeted because of their profession, and say it is likely the shooters thought they were shooting at rival gang members. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who described the rifle used as a “weapon of war,” said police in that neighborhood have seen “quite a few” shootings with high-powered rifles. Police dogs recovered a .223 caliber rifle buried in the woods near the site of the shooting.