Businesses worried about rising downtown crime after latest violent explosion at Millennium Park

With an increase in violence downtown, businesses fear it could scare away customers. Just last night, a Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy working security at Millennium Park shot a man who had opened fire in the park.

The scene spread to Riverwalk, where the suspect attempted to flee on a party boat.

CBS 2’s Shardaa Gray spoke to businesses about the increase in violence.

Filming at Millennium Park took place the first weekend with restricted hours for visitors under 18, who must be accompanied by an adult after 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

That didn’t stop the bullets from flying Friday night. The incident ended along the Chicago Riverwalk near several businesses.

A crowded tour boat saw more than just the city on Friday night, but also an investigation of officers looking for a suspect who fired shots in Millennium Park.

Chicago police say a 22-year-old man refused to be handed a wand at the entrance to Millennium Park on Monroe Street.

An off-duty Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy approached him, the man turned and fired, and the security officer returned fire, hitting the shooter in the buttocks.

The suspect then ran to the Chicago River, where he jumped on Island Party Boat in an attempt to escape.

This all happened on the second night since new safety rules were put in place at Millennium Park, including a restriction prohibiting unaccompanied minors from staying in the park after 6 p.m.

“It really sucks to be here and hear about all the stuff that’s going on because it draws people in,” said Lily Stein, manager of Beat Kitchen, located half a mile from the Chicago Riverwalk from the boat. party.

Stein said an increase in violence is driving businesses away.

“The violence definitely keeps people away from here, which is really difficult, but I emphasize that we have a strong security presence here and that’s really helpful,” Stein said. “I’m sure I saw a few this morning, and last night too. They come here all the time, which is great, and it certainly makes some customers feel a little safer, I think.”

Less than 24 hours later, the Chicago Police Marine Unit searched the Chicago River and scuba divers recovered a weapon from the Chicago River in connection with the shooting at Millennium Park.

Stein says she would like to see a change in the local community with respect to an increase in the number of officers.

“I think it’s important for police to work with local communities and build relationships, and I don’t think adding police presence, adding more police presence, is necessarily there. where we need to start,” Stein said.

The man who fired the shots in Millennium Park was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The off-duty officer was taken to hospital for observation.

Charges are still pending against the shooter.

David H. Henry