Gang funerals getting out of hand for suburban police force

Members of the community march on Chicago's West Side to protest the death of 7-year-old Amari Brown, Monday, July 6, 2015, in Chicago. Brown, who was one of seven people shot to death in Chicago over the holiday weekend, was the son of a gang leader with a lengthy arrest record, and police say the man's refusal to cooperate with detectives highlights the city's ongoing challenge in curbing gang-related violence. (AP Photo/Christian K. Lee)

According to the Hillside police chief who was involved in stopping and arresting four armed “mourners” on Tuesday has been an increasing problem. Gang funeral processions from Chicago to the suburbs are not only regular but also violent according to abc7.

Chief Joseph M. Lukaszek rammed his SUV into a car that he says was carrying armed funeral attendees in a dashcam video from Hillside police cruisers. He was then met with other Hillside units swarming the scene according to the news outlet.

According to Chief Lukaszek, the vehicle had been involved in a Chicago shooting outside a church where the funeral service had been held which brought the ceremony to an abrupt end. Police said the first of several shooting scenes was at Prince of Peace Baptist Church in the South Austin neighborhood, in the 5400-block of West Van Buren Street.

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During the procession out west, there were reports of additional gunshots and highway chaos. The Hillside police then followed the funeral procession to Oakridge Cemetery, 4301 Roosevelt Road, and kept the gun car under surveillance – intercepting after the burial according to abc7.

“We are safer stopping the car on Mannheim,” Lukaszek told the I-Team. “We waited until he walked back into the car as soon as they were far enough from the cemetery, so as not to create a larger disturbance. That’s when we decided to move in.”

Lukaszek said after crashing his police vehicle into the gun car, the suspects began to run.

“One of the passengers pulled out a firearm and he tripped,” he said.

According to investigators, police caught three men and a woman who are all in their 20s and will also be charged on Thursday. According to detectives, the suspects have extensive criminal histories with a total of more than 160 previous arrests.

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Police reported they found three handguns with “high-capacity magazines and high-impact ammunition.”

According to abc7, there were as many as 150 mourners at Oakridge Cemetery. Suburban law enforcement had recently met with Catholic cemetery officials about the issue of gang-funerals-gone-wild.

“All are having the same issues,” Lukaszek said. “It is out of hand. It’s more of a time to act like a complete fool and not mourn.”

Lukaszek said the cemeteries are “taking it seriously” and debating on hiring additional police.

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