The Chicago police said there had been no spike in assault rifle shootings citywide this year. The police have seized 79 assault rifles in 2017, only a slight increase from last year. Across Chicago, 194 people have been murdered this year, about 6 percent fewer than during the same period in 2016, when violence rose to levels not seen since the 1990s.
The police said Hispanic gangs, suspected in this month’s bloodshed, were the most frequent users of assault rifles. One of the men charged in the shooting of the two officers had been out on bond after being charged with another gun crime — evidence, the police said, of a judiciary that is too lax.
“We know the gangs that have the weapons,” said Anthony Guglielmi, a Chicago police spokesman. “We know the gangs that are using the weapons. And in some form, we kind of know where the weapons are coming from.”
American street gangs have used assault-style rifles for years. One such gun was used to shoot 13 people at a Chicago park in 2013, and the authorities have seized them from gangs in states including California and Missouri. Last year, hundreds of guns, including high-powered rifles, were stolen from a freight train passing through Chicago’s South Side. The weapons are more expensive, harder to come by and harder to conceal than revolvers and pistols, but present nonetheless.
“They’re not the weapon of choice, but they do get used,” said John Hagedorn, a criminologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago who has studied the city’s gangs.
But in Brighton Park, residents said they viewed the recent rifle shootings as evidence that long-festering gang disputes have metastasized into something even more vicious.
Mr. Lopez, the alderman, said he had been threatened by gang members and assigned a Chicago police security detail since Sunday’s bloodshed. He said gang members had been offended when he told local reporters that “no innocent lives were lost” at that scene, a statement he defended on Wednesday as officers stood watch outside his office. (The police said most, but not all, of Sunday’s victims had criminal records.)
On Wednesday night, more than 100 people gathered at the local Roman Catholic church to mourn the victims. As a driving rain flooded sidewalks, they marched through streets to the spot of the shootings.
Gabriela Ramirez, 33, said that “there’s still hope” in Brighton Park, where she lives, but also fear. “What kind of society do you live in,” she said, “if you just shoot with no conscience?”
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