One Stolen Handgun Connected to 27 Chicago Shootings (George Frey/Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 21 September 2021 12:56 PM
A pistol stolen from a Wisconsin gun shop in 2016 had been linked to at least 27 Chicago shootings before it was confiscated by police, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Chicago Police Department firearms technicians tied the Austrian handgun to 27 shootings in which 24 people were shot — two fatally — over nearly 20 months, the Tribune said Tuesday.
The fact a single gun was linked to so many shootings stunned local law enforcement officials, who say it could be the most-ever connected to a single firearm in Chicago, according to the Tribune.
Chicago police West Side detective Cmdr. Richard Wiser told the Tribune that the specific Glock represented "an extreme case," and guns typically are involved in an average of two to five possible incidents.
Still, the potential damage done by just one pistol that traveled over state lines is concerning, especially as gun violence skyrockets in Chicago and in other urban areas.
"Guns, they don't grow on trees," Cassandra Crifasi, deputy director of the Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy at Johns Hopkins University, told the Tribune. "They start somewhere, and they are exceptionally durable products, and they can last a very, very long time.
"It is so important that we are doing everything we can to make sure guns are not falling into the hands of people we know shouldn’t have them. This gun is evidence of all the havoc that can be wreaked with just one."
Chicago police said they had recovered more than 7,200 guns in the city through July. That was a 28% increase over the same period last year.
"My real big thing is I want to get some of the guns back," a detective from the Superior (Wisconsin) Police Department said to the small-time crook and drug user charged in the gun shop burglary, the Tribune reported.
"Guns out there in bad people’s hands kill people. Stolen guns do nothing but bad things."
The pistol, which included an extended magazine to increase firepower, entered Chicago’s underground gun market, the Tribune said. It was recovered during a street stop.
With the exception of the cases involving fatalities, no one has been charged for the shootings connected to the gun, the Tribune reported.
The newspaper said that researchers have estimated the cost of just one gunshot injury — including medical expense to the earning power of victims to the loss of business in the affected area — to be more than $1 million.
The Glock currently is being stored as evidence at Chicago’s Leighton Criminal Court Building.