(WGN-AM)- Chicago police made multiple arrests of people on charges of illegally carrying handguns and knives at the Taste of Chicago and fireworks show Friday, although the exact numbers were not yet being released.
There were "multiple" arrests of people with guns Friday, said Police News Affairs Officer Robert Perez. There also were a number of arrests of people illegally carrying knives, he said. Although Chicago Police spokesman Roderick Drew had said Friday that information about incidents at the festival would be released after all command posts checked in, no details of Friday's arrests were available by noon today.
It was unclear whether any of the arrests came about because of the new security arrangement at the Taste, which for the first time this year featured limited-access entrances controlled by security officers.
In what appears to have been the most serious arrest, a 15-year-old boy was arrested with a loaded shotgun he had been hiding in a backpack, police said.
About 7:30 p.m., a police supervisor saw one group of young people exchanging gang signs with another, putting people in the area "in fear," said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Robert Perez.
Among one of the two groups, the supervisor saw a teenage boy with a bulging packpack, police said. Officers saw the shotgun sticking out of the suspect's backpack and when the teenager saw police he started to run off. Police ran after him and arrested the suspect as he ran across Lake Shore Drive toward Lake Michigan, police said.
Hundreds of police officers had been scattered throughout Grant Park for the Taste of Chicago -- many of them on horses, Segways and all-terrain vehicles. Other officers with binoculars were stationed in a lookout tower standing about 50 or 60 feet over the crowd not far from Buckingham Fountain.
Some incidents were seen or reported. About 9:40 p.m., some 30 police officers had to break up a melee at Congress Parkway and Michigan Avenue as large crowds dispersed west out of Grant Park.
What started out as an altercation with a small group of people involved -- shoving, pushing, yelling -- within seconds became a larger fight with 10-20 people involved, according to a witness. Police quickly handled the disturbance. No one was hurt and Drew had no information about any charges.
About 8:30 p.m., police made a few arrests at the Taste following some sort of disturbance near Buckingham Fountain, Drew said Friday. He had no detailed information about that particular incident.
(The Chicago Tribune contributed to this story)
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Multiple Gun, Knife Arrests at Taste of Chicago
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