Following an officer involved shooting (OIS) on August 31, 2020, Near West District Commander Gabriella Shemash has issued a warning to officers regarding a possible retaliation towards the CPD by members of a notorious street gang. The original incident, which occurred on the 1300 block of West 19th Street, resulted in the death of Miguel Vega, a member of La Raza Nation.
As previously mentioned, the original incident took place on the 1300 block of West 19th Street. According to the Chicago Sun Times, CPD officers were dispatched to the location of the shooting following a report of a suspicious person. Once dismounted, authorities observed five individuals standing on a sidewalk communicating with one another. It was only when the officers approached the group that shots rang out, prompting law enforcement to respond. During this exchange, 26 year-old Vega was shot in the head. He would later be pronounced dead at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County.
In the wake of the OIS, Vega's family has argued that Miguel was wrongly engaged by officers. Although it remains to be seen if the action taken by officers was truly justified, the leaders of the La Raza Nation street gang have reportedly agreed that some form of action against local law enforcement should be taken. According to Commander Shemash's warning, an unnamed intelligence unit recorded at least one La Raza member saying, "something has to be done."
La Raza Nation
Founded in the Pilsen neighborhood around 1980, the La Raza Nation has survived multiple bloody gang wars and maintained its grip over a large swath of territory for nearly forty years. Although based in Chicago, La Raza has expanded its operations to other parts of the country, with activity observed in New York, Florida, Wisconsin, and Georgia. The Intelligence Ledger, after analyzing all-source information, has reached the conclusion that the gang maintains an active membership of roughly 10,500. Chicago Police detectives have previously labeled La Raza as one of the more aggressive gangs in Cook County.
The warning from Commander Shemash comes on the heels of an FBI alert to Chicago-area law enforcement regarding a multi-gang alliance. According to a witness, confidential informant, or other intelligence source, three dozen Cook County criminal organizations have agreed to, "shoot on-sight any cop that has a weapon drawn on any subject in public." In a statement to ABC 7 investigative reporters, the CPD acknowledged they are aware of the threat and have implemented precautionary measures.