2 men had guns at busy parks last weekend, officials say, as cops gear up for Memorial Day blowout

Keith Williams, right, and Anthony Berberena (Chicago Police Department, MapQuest)

CHICAGO — Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and if last weekend is any indication of what’s to come, Chicago police will be very busy as they try to keep guns off the lakefront beaches and out of parks.

At least two men were charged with having guns at city parks—one at Millennium Park and the other at North Avenue Beach. One man is on parole, the other is also accused of having a variety of narcotics, and both are charged with Class X felony armed habitual criminal.

In addition to the arrests, a man was shot at Montrose Beach.

Keith Williams, 36, of Streeterville, reacted nervously when he saw police conducting bag checks at North Avenue Beach last Saturday afternoon, according to a CPD report.

With a bag draped over his shoulder, Williams allegedly told the checkpoint cops, “It’s only beer,” before turning and walking away from the checkpoint.

Police said Williams ran into traffic and bolted onto the baseball field in Lincoln Park. They arrested him there and recovered his bag, which, according to his arrest report, did not contain a single beer.

It did, however, contain a loaded 9-millimeter handgun, 12 grams of suspected cocaine, 51 suspected Xanax pills, and 20 strips of LSD, his police report said. Officers allegedly found a bag of suspected ketamine in his sock and noted he was carrying $1,980 cash.

Court records show Williams has been convicted of the manufacture-delivery of heroin five times, with four of those coming in 2009.

In addition to armed habitual criminal, he is charged with armed violence and four narcotics counts. Judge David Kelly rejected the state’s detention petition and sent Williams home on an ankle monitor.

Anthony Berberena, 32, was arrested in the Loop last Sunday afternoon. Police said witnesses reported an altercation in Millennium Park and pointed toward Berberena, saying he had a gun.

Berberena made eye contact with the cops and ran out of the park onto Randolph Street, according to his arrest report. Police arrested him a few moments later and picked up a black object he allegedly dropped as he ran.

The black object turned out to be a sock—a sock that contained a loaded pistol, the arrest report said.

Judge Antara River detained him on charges of armed habitual criminal and possessing a defaced firearm. He is also being held on a parole violation warrant.

Records show he received six years for a gun case in 2020 and was paroled last May.

In another gun case, Berberena was shot by someone on May 17, 2016, and ran away to get help. However, he left a pistol at the shooting scene, which police linked to him through fingerprints, according to a CPD report. He received a seven-year sentence for that.

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