WARNING: Some photos in this story show blood.
NEAR NORTH SIDE — Blood remained on the sidewalk, with commuters and their pets walking through it, early Friday morning after a mass shooting left two dead and seven wounded on the Near North Side.
A 10th victim was injured amid the chaos after the Thursday night shooting.
The shooting happened at 10:41 p.m. in the 800 block of North State Street, police said. Police officials, a witness and a victim gave splintered accounts of the shooting and its aftermath.
The victim — who asked that he be identified only by his first name, Shaun — said it stemmed from a fight outside a McDonald’s.
The fight escalated, and someone pulled out a gun, Shaun said. Shaun and others tried to make the man put away his gun, and someone tried to grab it, Shaun said. Someone fired the gun, hitting Shaun twice, he said.
Shaun said he wasn’t sure what happened next — but more people were shot, including his cousin.
A witness said he saw a young man run into the restaurant’s lobby and get shot. A group of people tried to rush the McDonald’s door, and staff tried to keep them out, the witness said.
“It was very intense because you saw the kid and seconds later you heard the shots. Glass shattered,” the witness said.
Supt. David Brown, speaking at a Friday morning news conference, said two groups of people got into an argument outside the McDonald’s. Officers patrolling the area saw the argument, though there have been differing reporters about if there were fights, Brown said.
The groups left, but they returned about 30 minutes later, police said.
Someone from one group shot at the other people, killing two people and wounding seven, Brown said.
One of those killed was a 31-year-old man, police said. The other has not yet been identified.
The wounded were a 17-year-old boy, a 19-year-old man, a 21-year-old man, a 29-year-old man, a 30-year-old man, a 31-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman, police said.
The gunman ran off into the nearby Red Line station, which police officers chasing, Brown said. The group who had been with the gunman followed him into the subway station.
Officers found the man and the gun they think was used in the shooting, Brown said. Charges are pending.
A person who tried to stop officers from arresting the man was arrested, Brown said. Officers are also looking for a person who is seen in a video handing the shooter a gun, Brown said.
Another person — a woman who had fled with the group into the station — fell onto the “L” tracks and was electrocuted, Brown said. She was critically injured.
There is video of the shooting, Brown said.
Ultimately, five people were taken by ambulance to local hospitals, with the shooting requiring extra ambulances and resources due to the number of victims, said Fire Department spokesman Juan Hernandez. Two men were pronounced dead at Northwestern and Stroger hospitals.
Two men were hospitalized in serious condition, Hernandez said. A 43-year-old woman was taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital, where her condition was unknown but she had stabilized, Hernandez said.
Several people who had been wounded in the shooting also took themselves to local hospitals, Hernandez said.
Officials shut off power to trains as police searched for the gunman and to help the woman who fell on the tracks, Hernandez said. People who had been on one Red Line train stuck between stations during the shutoff were evacuated.
The McDonald’s was open the next morning, workers filling orders despite the eatery’s windows being shattered.
Shaun, 29, returned to the block Friday morning, still wearing a medical wristband and hospital socks. He was dismayed to see blood and medical supplies still on the sidewalk, with people just walking around — or through — it nearly 12 hours after the shooting.
“They need to clean this s— up,” Shaun said. “That’s my blood. That’s my cousin’s blood.”
After reporters noted the blood still on the sidewalk, a McDonald’s worker and a city crew cleaned it up.
Shaun sat and watched as workers washed victims’ blood from the sidewalk.
Shaun said he would be worried about what consequences he could face were he to testify against the gunman.
“It can be street justice. It could be anything. It could be money loss. It could be everything going wrong in your life,” Shaun said. “It don’t have to be nothing even harmful. … It could be like 20-some years from now. … It’s gonna hit you back.”
The witness said he was OK, but he wants the violence to stop.
“I know it won’t. But we need it better,” he said. “Do I think it’s a safe neighborhood for everyone to travel through? Yes. But a couple sour apples will spoil the whole batch.”
Richard Wilson, who was biking through the area Friday morning, stopped and saw the scene of the shooting.
“I’ve seen it before. I’ve almost gotten used to it, but not quite,” Wilson said. “I think the crime has gotten more aggressive. It’s clear to people that there are no consequences; and specifically on the Red Line, I never feel comfortable taking that.”
Gun violence in the 18th Police District, where the shooting occurred, has risen significantly this year. There were four shootings reported in the district by this time last year, but now the area has seen 13 so far this year.
“This is disturbing to my residents,” said Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who represents the area where the shooting occurred. “Something like this, it just rocks you to your core.”
The McDonald’s where the shooting happened has experienced “so many problems,” but its owners have done what officials have asked them to do, including hiring armed security and closing outdoor seating, Hopkins said.
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Michelle Davis, who works at a nearby restaurant, said she wasn’t there when the shooting happened, but she was thankful the shooting hadn’t spread past the McDonald’s. She feels safe in the area, she said.
“There’s a lot of police activity, so I’m feeling OK,” Davis said.
Not all felt the same. Alfredo Fricano, who has worked on the street for 64 years, said he has deep concerns about the recent violence Downtown, though he thinks there are enough police officers in the area.
“No, I don’t feel safe on the street. Things are so bad, it’s ridiculous,” Fricano said. “I see some police, but I don’t see them all the time.”
Brown said the Police Department created a fixed post of officers at the area Thursday night, and they have a roving patrol. They’ve also added a fixed post to the Red Line station there.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot also tweeted that police will be stationed at fixed posts nearby in response to the mass shooting. Ald. Brendan Reilly (2nd) noted that dedicated posts were supposed to be in place already at the intersection.
“The daily excuses coming out of the Superintendent’s Office insult intelligence & are infuriating,” he tweeted. City Council needs to step-in & demand accountability. Their strategy is failing us miserably.
The city’s emergency officials were “instrumental” in preventing the mass shooting from being any worse, Hopkins said. Police officers responded immediately, and camera operators were able to track the shooter — who hid in the Red Line — so he could be arrested soon after the violence, Hopkins said.
There are also cameras “all over” the Downtown area, Hopkins said. But those measures just help officials respond to or solve crimes; they don’t necessarily prevent them, he said.
“And still, this continues. So we’re all flailing about looking for answers,” Hopkins said. “Nothing is stopping this tide of violence and bloodshed in our city.”
Hopkins noted the shooting happened the same night the city started its 6 p.m. curfew for unaccompanied youth at nearby Millennium Park. Mayor Lori Lightfoot created the controversial curfew this week after a 16-year-old was shot and killed at the Bean.
But the curfew wouldn’t have helped in this case, since most of the people involved were older than 18, Hopkins said.
“Clearly, that is not the solution,” Hopkins said. “We can’t live like this as a society. … Clearly, we’re out of answers right now.”
Hopkins said he and others are “horrified” by Chicago’s struggles with violence, which surged at the start of the pandemic and has remained high. The violence is causing some to leave the city, he said.
But people need to come together to work on preventing the violence, Hopkins said.
“We’re going to stay here, and we are going to fight for the soul of our city,” Hopkins said.