In the last five months, there have been many situations where Evanston police faced potentially violent confrontations while attempting to make an arrest or in making a stop. Oftentimes, the suspect had a loaded gun. Police were able to diffuse the situations, without anyone’s getting seriously hurt. But it is worth noting what our police are facing.

The following is a summary of some incidents, taken from statements issued by the Evanston Police Department:

On April 19, police officers located a 25-year-old man found inside a residence that was not his, pulling down exposed copper wire. He resisted being taken into custody. One of the officers deployed his Taser in an attempt to gain control of the suspect, without success. The suspect brandished a black handgun, and an officer then shot at the suspect. The suspect fled, and during the chase, an officer fired two rounds at him, causing him to drop his gun. The suspect, a resident of Skokie, continued to flee but was ultimately taken into custody. The   gun was later determined to be a BB gun.

Just after 11 p.m. on June 17, Evanston police stopped a vehicle for a minor traffic violation in the 700 block of Dodge Avenue. When they approached the vehicle, the officers saw an open container of alcohol inside. The passenger, a 47-year old man and resident of Rockford, fled. During a foot chase, the suspect reached into his waistband, and a police officer deployed his Taser. As the suspect fell to the ground, he attempted to discard a Kel-Tec 9mm handgun under a parked vehicle. 

Just after noon on June 18,  a police officer saw a man who matched the description of a man who attempted to rob a woman at the CVS Store at 3333 Central St. The suspect fled as the officer approached, and during the chase he slammed a gate on the officer’s right arm and later confronted the officer by pushing him in the chest. The officer deployed his Taser, but the suspect removed the Taser probes and continued running. The suspect, a 47-year old Evanston resident, resisted arrest but was eventually taken into custody.

On June 29, at approximately 10:30 p.m., Evanston police officers saw a man on Howard Street riding a bicycle who was repeatedly adjusting an object in his waistband. The officers attempted to conduct a field interview of the man, but he fell off the bicycle and ran. As he was running, police saw him duck down near a bush and make a throwing motion, after which he got up and began running at one of the officers. Fearing he was about to be battered, the officer deployed his Taser, helping him to take the man, a  22-year old resident of Chicago, into custody. A Lorcin .25 caliber handgun was recovered from the bush area.  

On Aug. 3, at approximately 6:55 p.m., police officers stopped a vehicle occupied by four people in the 1800 block of Dodge Avenue. A passenger in the back seat, a 16-year old male resident of Evanston, fled the vehicle and dropped a loaded Para-Ordinance .45 caliber handgun on the ground. The juvenile was subsequently taken into custody. 

On Aug. 4, at 12:05 a.m., police officers saw several people in Beck Park, 2428 Emerson St., after closing hours. When police approached, one man fled on foot. During a chase, an officer saw the man reach into his waistband and bend over as he was running. When the officer caught up with the man, the man turned and squared up with officer. The officer drew his Taser and told the man to stop. When the man did not comply, the officer deployed his Taser, which helped the  officer to take him into custody. Police found a loaded Sar Arms 9mm handgun in the area where the man, an 18-year old resident of Chicago, reached into his waistband and bent over.  

On Aug. 30, at approximately 9:10 p.m., police responded to a call of a robbery in progress at an ATM at the Bank of America, 1336 Chicago Ave. They saw a woman in the ATM vestibule along with a man who had a towel covering his face. When the male and female exited the vestibule, police saw the man had his hands in his waistband area. Police told the suspect to remove his hands from the front of his waistband, and he did not comply. The officer and a back-up officer were able to take the man, a 19-year old resident of Evanston, into custody. The man had a .410 caliber Taurus revolver in his waistband.  

In considering these events, some thoughts come to mind. For one thing, there are far too many guns in this Country, in this State, in this County, and in this City. Next, it is to the credit of the Police Department that, despite the potential of harm to both police and suspects, each situation was resolved without significant injury to any party.

Finally, we think it is the duty of everyone in this community to help the Police Department get illegal guns out of the home and off the street. The Supreme Court will not help us – it has opened up the way for guns to land in the wrong hands. The City Council has done all it can do to limit firearms here. It is up to us, the residents of Evanston, to help the police get out the word that illegal guns are not welcome in this community.

Report the presence of an illegal weapon before it is used to harm someone. There is no excuse not to help in this effort. With text-a-tip, it is possible to be vigilant and anonymous. 

Until the message is clear and alive that illegal guns are not welcome anywhere in this community, the safety of all residents will be at risk.