Evanston police say a combination of readily available guns, disputes among gang members and longstanding conflicts among members of extended families are major factors in gun violence in the city.

In a presentation at a ward meeting earlier this month that’s scheduled to be repeated at the Levy Center next month, Deputy Police Chief Jeff Jamraz said that as police try to prevent further gun violence, they’ve arrested nearly a dozen people on weapons charges so far this year and recovered nearly 40 firearms.

Six of the city’s 10 shooting incidents this year have occurred in the 5th Ward. And of the 11 victims, all but three were black males between the ages of 16 and 25. The other victims, all of them black, were a 19-year-old woman and men ages 39 and 46.

Only one of the shooting victims in Evanston this year died of his wounds, but two other young men with Evanston connections were shot to death just beyond the city limits — one in Skokie, the other in Chicago.

Jamraz presented a list of incidents that showed how the lives of one gang member — Antoine Sanders — the man killed on McCormick Boulevard in Skokie last month by a gunman on a motorcycle — and some of his relatives — had frequently intersected with weapons.

  • On Jan. 12, 2012, Antoine Sander’s brother, Anton Sanders, 15, was shot and killed in the 1800 block of Juneway Terrace in Rogers Park.
  • On Feb. 18, 2012, Antoine Sanders was arrested in Chicago for unlawful possession of a weapon.
  • On May 11, 2012, Antoine Sanders was arrested by Evanston police for possession of a weapon after a lakefront chase that followed a shots-fired incident near Gale Elementary School in Rogers Park.
  • On Sept. 12, 2012, Antoine Sander’s father, also named Antoine Sanders, 36, was shot and killed in the 15600 block of Drexel Avenue in Dolton.
  • In October 2012, Antoine Sanders was convicted on weapons charges in the May 2012 incident and served eight months at the Vienna Correction Center.
  • On July 2, 2014, Antoine Sanders was shot at in the 900 block of Custer Avenue in Evanston. The shooter missed Sanders, but shot and wounded a 19-year-old woman he was with.
  • On July 22, 2014, the motorcycle gunman fatally shot Antoine Sanders, who died at age 23.

Related document

The ward meeting slide presentation

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Teenagers having kids

    So, Antoine Sanders (the father) had a kid when he was 15? And the self-perpetuating cycle of poverty continues. Where are the role models speaking out against this behavior?

    1. I don’t get it

      In Re: comment above: I don't get it! 

      Where did thie policeman's report mention poverty?

      Obviously this family has money to purchase guns and ammo and vehicles.

      Who said anything about poverty here?

      1. If not poverty?

        If it's not poverty, then what's the excuse?  I thought that's what we were going with now, poverty instead of personal responsibility.

      2. Shootings

        Does "poverty" exist in homes where all members are involved in drugs? Both the use and sale of drugs and guns! That's where they get the $$$$ for fancy cars etc. What they all need is an education and a desire to not be involved in what's happening in their neighborhood.

        But they all seem to enjoy that "rich" life style that those guns give them. Where the hell are the parents and politicians that are in denial? Just look at Ferguson, have you noticed that most of those arrested don't even live there. If the 75 percent of black citizens protested peacefully and pointed out the "visitors" to the local police, the riots and damage to local business would be over. 

  2. Shootings

    Why should our ward be held hostage because a few extended families can't get along? Why not require mandatory conflict resolution and anger management classes for those who occupy so much of the police force's time and energy? It's not fair to the rest of the citizens who are mostly great people and law abiding citizens of Evanston. It's exhausting to always worry whether we can let our kids play outside or if this is the day a shooter will come down the road. Tired.

    1. The burden of gang and gun

      The burden of gang and gun control is not the sole responsibilty of the EPD.  It is my thought that the City of Evanston needs to enhance offered Mental/Behavioral & Substance Misuse services for individuals between the ages of 19-50 years of age.  It also my thought that Cook County Government needs to be more involved in offering appropriate community services for Evanstonians and especially for local members of disadvantage groups.

      It has been said that many do not want a Military Police appearance in Evanston.  If such is desired than provide more opitions for EPD and especially preventive services like mental health and substance misuse.  It is my final thought that the EPD does a good job of keeping Evanston safer.


      1. Offering help

        The problem with offering help to these people, is that most of them don't believe they have a problem, or need help.  One has to acknowledge their issues, and want to take themselves into a program to try to restructure their lives. I would imagine that a lot of criminals don't know better….they actually get a kick out of being the way they are….they are making a LOT of quick money selling drugs….the money and power make them feel important, etc…etc…etc…   Being out of touch with reality is a sad thing.   And it only leads to larger and more destructive behavior.   When  people don't value their own lives, they certianly don't value the lives of strangers, either.   They also are ignorant of the consequences of their actions.  Some things "simply" cannot be changed by attending therapy sessions that they don't want to attend in the first place.   Again, VERY sad…and yet it keeps perpetuating itself…..

      2. Same Old, Same Old…

        Same old argument made by Barfield.

        First, we have to label these thugs (John uses "disadvantaged groups)."

        Second, we have to blame a straw man reason for why they committ these crimes (disadvantaged groups)."

        Third, we have to throw tax payer money at community service programs to help them; coddle them, slap them gently on the wrist with probation. Becuae it is not their fault; disadvantaged groups.

        I think Evanstonians, and America frankly are done with this approach in light of recent events locally and nationally.

        You committ a serious crime and you get caught, you go to jail. period. I do not care what side of the tracks you are from. When will someone simply convey that this is a matter of personal responsibility and not a matter of "community" and labels like "disadvantaged groups."

    2. Anger management classes

      Now that's funny. We could teach them the words to Kumbaya while we're at it.


      1. Barfield is correct

        I have long held that many of these young criminals suffer from a form of mental illness that requires treatment. Such treatment could easily be coupled with their requirements for probation. 

        1. Not buying it

          Yeah, the mental illness is called "poor life choices". I don't buy it that they suffer from mental illness. Maybe a few do. But, the majority? Nope. It's probably shocking how normal they are. We've got to stop coddling these losers. And that's what they are. Losers. They're losing at life. Learn to fly straight or we'll put you away for good.

          1. Not Buying it….Mentally ill? Let’s get real!

            I totally agree.   These thugs know exactly what they're doing….. they think they won't get caught…they think they can outsmart the law…..they think other people's lives are not important…..they think that nothing matters except their way of life. This is not mental illness….Losers all the way around!   Lock them up, and toss out the keys!

          2. Don’t be smug

            "These thugs know exactly what they're doing….. they think they won't get caught…they think they can outsmart the law…..they think other people's lives are not important…..they think that nothing matters except their way of life. This is not mental illness…."

            If they think they way you're describing here, they certainly do need professional intervention to help them stop doing so.

          3. smug?

            I'll say it aagain…..they really don't think they need help.  They're rolling in drug money, cool cars, etc……and have probably spent many years of their lives, living in this mode.  Professional intervention is not going to do the trick.   By the time people get to be in their early 20s, etc….they have generally set the pattern for their lives….unless they "see the light", or "snap out of it" because a loved one of THEIRS gets killed, and they realize it's not the way to go.  It would take years of therapy to change someone, and the person really has to WANT the change.

  3. There is more to this that police should admit

    Readily available guns? What does that mean?

    Two years ago Sanders was arrested for illegal possession of a gun. Who owned that gun and how did Sanders get it? If it was given to Sanders is the gun owner responsible?

    A dozen people were arrested in Evanston on weapons charges and 40 firearms were recovered. Of those arrested on weapon charges, how did they get those guns? 

    This is what bothers me. The police keep saying it's easy to get guns but there is never a breakdown on how each person arrested obtained that gun. The presumption I guess is they buy it on the black market. But someone legally owns that gun. How many of these guns were stolen?

    Sanders was arrested in 2012 for illegal possession of a gun. Yet, he's out and about. What are the penalties for illegal possession and are judges lenient on sentencing? Maybe we need harsher penalties on illegal possession of firearms? Maybe the media needs to shine a light on how these judges issue sentencing.

    I notice police never ever mention gang affiliation. I would bet that most of these shooters and victims are in gangs. 

    These are questions that never seem to be answered in the media. Chicago has one of the strictest gun laws in the nation but the police chief keeps saying it's too easy to get guns. it doesn't compute. And what about gangs? Why do they never mention gangs as a problem? 

    1. There’s slides on the presentation on gangs
      Anonymous Al your statement about police never mentioning gang affiliation is untrue if you actually read the slideshow it said that Sanders was an active Chicago gang member and Vallejo associated with known gang members it also mentions that there are numerous gangs in Evanston and there’s even a slide about what gangs are here. I’m just saying…

    2. Guns

      Wake up & smell the coffee! Just look at the court system. Your black politians are always complaining that Black males are being judged unfairly! Yet they are the ones killing & getting killed. Let the citizens living in those communties speak up. They are living in the same homes as the shooters do. Why not try this: You see a gun, speak up!

      1. Cosby is right

        Amen. It's easier to distract themselves with perceived civil rights violations than face the truth that the problem lies within themselves. Al Sharpton is wrong. Bill Cosby is right.

  4. Hollywood movie

    This story sounds like the plot to a violent B movie. I confess I don't know what is to be done and must trust others to figgur' it out. Unfortunately, this story will most likely have a long ending.

  5. The ward meeting slide presentation

    I like the ward meeting slide presentation.  I absolutely believe our cops are doing the best they can. 

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