The city center again shaken by violence; Mayor Lightfoot Calls Near North Side Mass Shooting “Horrible Tragedy” – Chicago Tribune

Violence erupted again downtown Thursday night when nine people were shot, two fatally, near a fast food restaurant and a CTA station on the Near North Side, a shooting that came just days after the death of a teenager near The Bean during a mass youth rally last weekend.

Back-to-back high-profile downtown shootings prompted a fresh response Friday from the mayor and police chiefs, who struggled to contain the violence as summer approached. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Superintendent David Brown immediately blamed Thursday’s shooting on parents failing to supervise their children and a flood of weapons entering the city, many carried by young people who are now using them in fights which in the past might not have been lethal.

Lightfoot also again called for a visible police presence downtown, including landlines at the corner where the shooting took place Thursday at Chicago Avenue and State Street, and at the Chicago Avenue stop on the CTA Red Line. Brown said the police actually instantly created a fixed post in the area and at the CTA station in question, in addition to the roving units.

Lightfoot said too many young people have said they have to carry guns to feel safe, and that needs to be addressed.

“You have a ticking time bomb in your hand, in your pocket, in your purse,” she said.

The latest shooting occurred around 10:40 p.m. Thursday on the 800 block of North State Street, outside the Chicago Avenue subway station and a McDonald’s. Police say a person began firing a gun into a crowd during a ‘personal dispute’ outside the fast food joint, then the shooter and others fled into the station Red Line where a person was injured on the third rail of the subway tracks.

One person believed to be the shooter has been arrested and charges are pending, Brown said.

The McDonald’s and adjoining blocks have been an intermittent hot spot for the past few years. The fast food giant’s offices declined to comment on the company’s commitment to the site, which was closed by the city on Friday.

The mayor has resisted any calls to bring out the National Guard to deal with the violence, as the city saw during the days of unrest two summers ago. The main problem is armed minors, the mayor said, not just any problem that military force could solve.

Around lunchtime Friday, State and Chicago were packed with people. Many of them headed for the closed McDonald’s, which had police tape in front of a door and traffic cones blocking drive-thru.

A passerby said, “Oh, was that McDonald’s?

“It’s crazy what’s going on in our country right now,” said another, as he changed course from McDonald’s to a Taco Bell next door.

Jim Smaron, a retired accountant who has lived in the area since 2010, said when he first moved to the neighborhood he considered it safe.

“It seems like over the last three or four years it’s gotten worse,” Smaron said. “This is the first I’ve heard of a fatal shooting in the area as far as I can remember.”

He said the area around McDonald’s, especially with the red line just ahead, has “always been a problem” and that with the new Whole Foods cat corner at McDonald’s, more and more people will be drawn into the region.

“It goes away a bit when the police are on patrol, as it does now, but that doesn’t solve the problem,” he said. “Mayor Lightfoot talked about improving crime, and it doesn’t seem to have improved. Not just here, but all over Chicago. I don’t quite understand what is going on. »

The 18th arrondissement, where McDonald’s is located, saw an increase of five to 15 gunshot victims this year through May 18, according to official police data. That total is expected to rise after Thursday night’s shooting.

The city was shocked earlier in the week by the fatal shooting of 16-year-old Seandell Holliday near The Bean in Millennium Park. It was unclear what role new rules that came into effect Thursday closing Millennium Park to unaccompanied minors might have played in moving groups of young people to other parts of downtown.

Brown dismissed the idea that Millennium Park’s limitations on young people played into the filming or relocation of the gathering place for younger people. He noted that the wedge was a “long-standing” problem and blamed the gunfire on the easy availability of firearms.

“It’s not based on anything related to Millennium Park,” Brown said, including the use of police resources there compared to other downtown locations.

“This is a gun crime crisis in our city and our country,” Brown said. Because someone in the crowd who was involved in the argument had a gun, gunfire broke out.

“We’re inundated with guns,” Brown said.

The person detained in Thursday’s shooting has not yet been identified as police are working with prosecutors to charge the potential shooter, Brown said. Police are “confident our officers have captured the shooter and recovered the weapon used”.

Brown again also blamed the justice system for giving lower bails to armed offenders by putting more suspected criminals back on the streets. Top judges and legal experts have questioned this correlation.

The two dead in the shooting included Antonio Wade, 30, who died of multiple gunshot wounds and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. Police said he was shot in the chest and pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The second person to die was a 31-year-old man, who was shot in the back and pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital, police said.

The most seriously injured victim appears to be a 19-year-old man who was shot in the chest and was listed in critical condition at Northwestern, police said.

On the night of the shooting, a Red Line train passing through the area was stopped between stations while authorities searched the subway tracks for a weapon, said fire department spokesman Chief Juan Hernandez. He added that the department evacuated the passengers from the CTA around 11:30 p.m.

Shortly before, responders were seen removing people – at least two who appeared to be seriously injured – from an area between McDonald’s and the subway entrance at the northeast corner of State and Chicago.

Amid the chaos following the shooting, a woman shouted at an officer standing near the entrance to the station, “Which hospital? My brother got shot!

As paramedics and officers worked at the scene, a fight broke out between two people across the street. Shortly after 11:15 p.m., a group crossed a line of police tape and argued with officers before being pushed back.

Deonna Jackson, 18, had come to town to hang out with her friends.

“I was getting off the train and spotted a group of teenagers fighting,” Jackson said. “Teenagers started rushing towards me and they’re all attacking one person – they were jumping on someone.”

“I’m a bit used to it happening here, but I just don’t get involved.” Jackson broke away from the fight and “reached the corner”.

It was then that a girl approached her, asked what was going on and asked Jackson for help, explaining that she was trying to find her friend who might have been involved in the fight.

Jackson started heading to a 7-Eleven across the street, but things weren’t over.

“All of a sudden gunshots erupted,” Jackson said.

Stephanie Casanova and Rosemary Sobol of the Chicago Tribune contributed.

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David H. Henry