Man stabs self 20-30 times
Alleged gangster knifed himself as cops closed in
 

November 4, 2006
A top Chicago gangster linked to a bloody gang war is near death after he stabbed himself 20 to 30 times just as police were about to arrest him this week, authorities said.

Cook County prosecutors said Friday that Lamell "Slim" Burns -- a reputed leader in the New Breed gang -- remains in critical condition at Stroger Hospital.

Also Friday, Cook County Judge Maura Slattery Boyle ordered Burns and another alleged leader in the New Breed, Melvin "Ben Ben" Martin, held without bail in connection with a planned hit of a rival gang member that police foiled Oct. 31 at a Humboldt Park intersection. The incident ended with officers shooting to death two of the would-be hit men.

Prosecutors say Martin and Burns orchestrated the planned hit, using cell phones to direct their underlings to the target, a member of the Traveling Vice Lords. Burns and Martin were arrested at separate locations a day after the shootings.

Martin was arrested without incident near his home in Riverside, prosecutors say. Martin, 30, appeared briefly in court Friday, and his attorneys described him as a father of two.

Police use stun gun
Prosecutors say police were trying to arrest Burns, 29, in the 1700 block of North Lockwood when he fled and ran into an empty first-floor apartment.

"As [police] were attempting to place the offender in custody, he began stabbing himself with a knife," according to a Chicago Police arrest report. "A [stun gun] was deployed by [police] to prevent further injury or death and officers were able to gain control of the offender."

Investigators say the on-going gang war between the Traveling Vice Lords and the New Breed has claimed the lives of at least 19 gang members this year.