By Peter Nickeas, Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — For 10 minutes, it seemed like the shooting was everywhere in the South Chicago neighborhood.
It started when someone shot and wounded a couple, then two people fired at the shooter, then there was a chase and shots exchanged and a man sitting on a porch was hit. Responding officers kept cutting each other off on their radios as they reported other gunfire in the area late Sunday night and early Monday morning.
Then the heavy equipment rolled in: A helicopter and SUVs packed with lockers of rifles. SWAT teams in green coveralls patrolled the streets with uniformed officers.
It was just one of dozens of shooting scenes across Chicago over the long Fourth of July weekend. In all, at least 82 people were shot, 14 of them fatally, since Thursday afternoon when two woman were shot as they sat outside a two-flat within a block of Garfield Park.
Five of the people were shot by police over 36 hours on Friday and Saturday, including two boys 14 and 16 who were killed when they allegedly refused to drop their guns.
Many of the long weekend’s shootings were on the South Side, clustered in the Englewood, Roseland, Gresham, and West Pullman neighborhoods that rank among the most violent in the city.
The victims ranged from the 14-year-boy shot by police in the Old Irving Park neighborhood to a 66-year-old woman grazed in the head as she walked up the steps of her porch on the Far South Side. Most victims were in their late teens and 20s.
Each night of the long holiday weekend, at least a dozen people were shot in the greatest burst of gun violence Chicago has seen this year.
— From Thursday night into Friday, three people were killed and 10 others wounded. An attack outside a West Englewood salon left two men dead and an East Garfield Park shooting took the life of a 21-year-old woman.
— From Friday afternoon into Saturday, 20 people were shot, one fatally. The man who died had been flashing gang signs in a parking lot in the Clearing neighborhood when someone told him to stop. When the man didn’t, he was shot, police said.
— From Saturday night into Sunday morning, four people were killed and another 10 wounded.
— The bloodiest stretch of the weekend was a 13-hour period between 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 3:30 a.m. Monday when four people were killed and at least another 26 wounded, many of them in critical condition. And the most chaotic scene was in South Chicago, where three people were wounded during a running gun battle.
The shooting started around 11:20 p.m. Sunday when someone opened fire at two people who just left a store on Exchange Avenue south of 80th Street. A 25-year-old man was taken in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and a 19-year-old woman was stabilized at Advocate Christ Medical Center.
While the man was firing, two people on the street shot at him and a chase ensued, with the three exchanging gunfire through a vacant lot west toward Escanaba Avenue, police and neighbors said.
The three didn’t hit each other but a 48-year-old man was caught in the crossfire while sitting on the porch. He was wounded in the ankle and taken to Jackson Park Hospital.
The shooting kicked off an hour of occasional chaos as responding officers kept hearing gunfire, first the exchange between the three, then an apparently unrelated volley of shots a few blocks west on Muskegon Avenue where police found shell casings on a porch.
A 10-1 — a call for an officer in distress — was broadcast across the city because the shots were so close to police.
Officers from across the South Side responded, including tactical teams who had been ordered to wear their uniforms instead of plainclothes for the holiday weekend.
Police were radioing about hearing gunfire all over the neighborhood, and a district lieutenant ordered a perimeter over a three-block-by-four-block area. No one was taken into custody.
As a helicopter circled overhead, someone shot up a house a few blocks south on Exchange Avenue, just outside the perimeter, around midnight. The gunfire was called over the police radio before any 911 calls were received, and officers ran down the street toward where the gunfire came from.
The house that was hit by gunfire, in the 8400 block of South Exchange, was near where a teen had been shot earlier in the day and police had responded to a call of a gang disturbance. A group of gang members had been hanging out outside and someone wanted them removed, police said.
About half an hour later, the neighborhood had finally quieted down. “Release the perimeter,” the lieutenant ordered, though he asked that patrol cars keep a watch on the four crime scenes.
Photo via WikiCommons
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