FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO) — A 16-year-old boy is gunned down in Freeport just five days after 19-year-old was killed. Freeport’s police chief says it’s another example of the growing problem of gang violence.
He tells us keeping the community safe is a tough assignment.
Police Chief Matthew Summers is pleading for community members to work with officers so they can put the people responsible behind bars.
“There are way too many firearms out on the street. We’re working with federal and state agencies, geez, it almost seems like on a daily basis with firearms that we’re recovering,” said Chief Summers.
Chief Summers says he is disturbed by a recent uptick in gun violence.
“When your phone rings in the middle of the night, and it’s one, it’s shocking. And it should be shocking for Freeport. You get two in five days, and it’s a little overwhelming.”
Last Saturday, 19-year-old Marcus Price was killed near Frank and State Street. Thursday night, a 16-year-old male victim was gunned down on Beaver Avenue. Investigators believe the incidents could be related, but say it’s too early to know for sure.
The chief says the department is ‘looking into all avenues’ but it can feel like an uphill battle.
“Last week, we arrested an individual who had a firearm on him who was out on bond for attempted murder,” said Chief Summers. “I just fear that we’re losing that ability to hold people accountable for what they do. And it’s very difficult, it’s a revolving door for some people. Not pointing fingers at anybody or any one thing, it’s just the way the law is and society is trending today.”
Summers asks anybody who has information on recent shootings to come forward and alert officers to any suspicious activity.
“Most people know their neighborhood better than anybody else. They know what’s out of place and what’s not out of place. And I’ve said before, if you think to yourself, ‘Man, should I call the police on this?’ You’ve already answered the question by asking yourself that,” the chief added. “If you don’t call, sometimes it’s too late.”
The recent gun violence prompted summers to ask other local law enforcement agencies for help. He says Illinois State Police officers have agreed to help patrol city streets for the time being.