CHICAGO — Police are looking for a man they said was involved in a shooting at a North Avenue Beach party this week — and the alderperson is pushing to prosecute party organizers.
The Tuesday night party, which saw several fights and the shooting, left one man wounded and several officers injured, police said. This year has seen several large, impromptu parties at the Lincoln Park beach, with police finding guns at the events and public officials saying they pose a threat to residents’ safety.
Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), who represents the area, said the shooting and guns found at Tuesday’s party were “disturbing.” In an email to residents, Smith called for charges against the person who created a social media post to organize the party.
“We demand that the state’s attorney pursue civil and criminal charges against the promoters of the illegal event at the beach,” Smith wrote. “Posting these events is, in our judgment, is similar to inciting a riot, and can be prohibited under Brandenburg v. Ohio, as inciting ‘imminent lawless action.'”
The most recent party started about 4 p.m., when small groups of young people began showing up at the beach because fliers on social media had advertised a party, Supt. David Brown said during a Wednesday news conference. There were also families at the beach, he said.
People were “having a good time,” Brown said. “It was peaceful, initially.”
At 5:07 p.m., officers checking people’s bags at the entrance of the beach found someone who had a 9-millimeter handgun in his fanny pack. The 20-year-old was arrested and charged, Brown said.
At 5:38 p.m., officers found another person who had a gun and arrested and charged that man, who was 21, police said.
During the event, about 100 people gathered, dancing and wading into the water, Brown said.
The party turned violent later in the night, Brown said.
At 9:47 p.m., officers heard people screaming and saw two women fighting, Brown said. Moments later, they saw and heard someone fire shots nearby, he said.
Someone had shot a 19-year-old man multiple times, Brown said. The victim was taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital in critical condition.
Officers pursued two men involved in the shooting as they ran away, police said. They stopped and arrested one man, Brown said.
But the second man who was running tossed a fanny pack and escaped, Brown said. Officers found a Glock handgun with an extended magazine in the fanny pack, he said.
Officers released video of the man they’re looking for. It shows a man running from police and tossing a bag into the sand.
Watch the video:
Just minutes after the shooting, at 9:50 p.m., officers began closing the beach and clearing people from it, Brown said.
There were about 60 people who left the party and went into the neighborhood at that point, and they were generally trying to get rides home, Smith wrote in the email.
But as the partiers spilled into the neighborhood, another fight broke out at North Avenue and Wells Street, Brown said. It involved people who had been at the beach.
Officers trying to intervene and control people around the fight were hurt, though their injuries were not life-threatening, Brown said. Three teens — a 15-year-old boy and a boy and girl who are 16 — were arrested, Brown said.
Officers had dispersed the crowd by 11:30 p.m., Brown said.
Ultimately, police found six guns and one knife at the beach or its entrances and five people — four of them teens — have been charged in incidents related to the party, Smith said.
Smith included a list of demands in her email, saying she wants more security help from the city. Her demands:
- A tightened perimeter around North Avenue Beach.
- Private security to supplement police at entrances to the beach.
- Metal detectors or metal detecting wands at all entrances.
- Maintenance of the promised manpower at the beach as long as necessary.
- A designated rideshare area for pickup with better organization of people leaving the park.
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