Updated 10/12/10
A 19-year-old gang member who has already been arrested 26 times faces prison after Forest Park police and WEDGE (West Suburban Directed Gang Enforcement) officers caught him Sept. 24 around 11:20 a.m. near Harlem and Roosevelt in possession of a fully loaded gun.

Police first spotted the man, Centrell T. Brewer of Chicago, in a currency exchange parking lot after receiving a phone call about a suspicious person wearing nothing but boxers. Brewer, who had been living at his girlfriend’s residence at 1301 Elgin in Forest Park, fled on foot and then fought with officers as they tried to take him to the ground. The man was taken into police custody on the 1200 block of Harlem in Berwyn and later transported to the Forest Park Police Department.

Police retraced their steps from the foot chase and found a chrome Rossi revolver, loaded with six live rounds, north of the garage at 1218 Maple, where Brewer ran past earlier. Brewer was charged with once count of possession of a firearm by a gang member, which is automatic jail time according to a relatively new law, and also unlawful use of a weapon by a felon while a weapon was loaded. He also had one count of resisting arrest.

Of the 26 times Brewer had been arrested, 17 as an adult, 16 arrests were drug related.

Forest Park Police said this was the first arrest they have made since the new law, which mandates prison time for street gang members caught with possession of a loaded gun in a public area, took effect in December of 2009.

The WEDGE Drugs and Gang Task Force is a join effort among community police departments from the surrounding area.

-Katie Drews