LINCOLN SQUARE — Chicago Police say a man pulled a gun on another man’s dog in Lincoln Square’s Gross Park on Sunday because the dog was not on a leash.
Police told Block Club Chicago on Thursday that the dog’s owner, a 37-year-old man, filed a police report saying he was approached by another man in the park while he was playing with his dogs.
“An unknown offender pointed a weapon at the dog and told him to put his dog on a leash,” a police spokesman said, quoting the report.
A 911 caller reported a person with a gun in Gross Park at 11:18 a.m. Sunday. Responding officers, however, couldn’t find the caller, said Sally Bown, a Chicago Police spokesperson.
Bown said no report was filed by the officer, but the police later confirmed the dog owner sought a report.
The dog’s owner posted about the incident on Facebook, but later deleted it after drawing hundreds of comments from concerned residents.
In a new post about the incident Thursday afternoon, he said neighbors seemed more concerned about his off-leash dog than the gunman.
“This definitely did happen and I’m the owner of one of the two dogs. I deleted my original post looking for info about the guy because instead of being helpful I was berated by individuals telling me to leash my dog (20lb dachshund) and I didn’t feel the need to defend myself or my dog any more that day,” the person said. “A police report has been filed.”
The person also asked anyone with information regarding the man with the gun Sunday to reach out to police.
Lincoln Square North Neighbors issued a statement saying the group was “very alarmed” by the alleged Sunday incident.
“Gross Park is a place for peace and recreation — weapons of any kind should never be within its gates” the statement said. “There are a number of community safety initiatives that we can work on together to increase awareness and public safety around our parks and schools. We look forward to providing a forum for people’s’ safety concerns and what we can do positively to improve our neighborhood.”
The park has a gated metal fence that wraps around the playground, basketball court and open field. At each entrance is a sign reminding dog owners to keep dogs leashed and to pick up after themselves as well as a dispenser with plastic bags for picking up poop.
Outside of the Sunday incident, park staff isn’t aware of ongoing problems at Gross Park, said Michele Lemons, director of communications for the Chicago Park District.
Adam Kashuba, president of the Gross Park Advisory Council, said his group hadn’t heard anything about the Sunday incident outside of the now-deleted Facebook post.
Nazario Diego, who lives by the park and was playing with his 1-year-old chihuahua, Cannelo, there Tuesday, didn’t know of the controversy — but said he’s never had issues before.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem and I’m here every morning and most afternoons,” Nazario Diego said. “People pick up after their dogs here and I’ve never had someone complain about mine.”
Parents taking their kids to the park’s playground and teenagers playing basketball over the past few days there also said they had not heard of the incident or had a bad experience with dog owners.
“I see dogs here all the time and have never had a problem with them,” Cerise Bridges said. She visits the playground at least once a week and says dog owners pick up after themselves and are friendly.
The next meeting of the park’s advisory council is scheduled for May 14.
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