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Ald. Lopez Not Backing Off Statement That 'No Innocent Lives Lost' In Mass Shooting

By Stephen Gossett in News on May 9, 2017 9:00PM

Ald. Raymond Lopez / Facebook
"I'm thankful because today no innocent lives were lost."

Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) uttered those controversial remarks in the wake of Sunday's brutal mass shooting in Brighton Park; and on Tuesday, the Southwest Side alderman said he did not regret his comments—even after they at least in part reportedly sparked a credible gang threat against his safety, which necessitated security details from Chicago Police Department officers.

After the mass shooting, in which siblings Adriana and Michael Williams were killed and eight people were wounded, Lopez vociferously urged community members to cooperate with law enforcement and identify known gang members and drug dealers—even as he acknowledged that deportation fears could be making residents hesitant to cooperate, according to DNAinfo. "No children were shot. No police officers were shot. But that will not always be the case," he added at a Sunday news conference.

But Lopez didn't back off on Tuesday, even after the controversy, and even after the security details. He referenced both the mass shooting—where the victims had gathered at a makeshift memorial for a man, Daniel Cordova, who was fatally shot some 12 hours before—and the shooting for which it was apparently retaliation.

He said at the City Council, according to Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times:

“These individuals who were involved in both situations are documented gang members. And when you lead a lifestyle like this, those kinds of activities—those kinds of results do happen unfortunately.

Nobody told those young individuals to become gang members, to create a gang memorial and to make themselves targets. We were trying to diffuse that situation. Police were very actively trying to prevent any kind of memorial because they knew what would happen and this was the outcome."

He then reportedly bristled at the suggestion that he may be heading down a path of guilt-by-association with that characterization, saying that gang colors and gang markers, including on candles for the memorial, were visible in photos of the scene. Police confirmed that one of the fatalities, Michael Williams, had gang ties, according to the Tribune.

"However my comment is taken, the point remains we have people who are willing to kill indiscriminately to maintain this culture of gang violence and retaliatory warfare in our communities," he said on Tuesday, via the Tribune.

Spielman also reports that at least two family members of the victims hissed at Lopez during a large-scale rally on Monday near the site of the shooting: "They're not animals! They were people," said one woman, according to the Sun-Times.

It wasn't clear how long Lopez would be provided with security. He said he'll keep speaking out against violent crime in the area.