DOWNTOWN — There was widespread looting, vandalism and gunfire Sunday night and early Monday Downtown after police shot a 20-year-old man.
The unrest came hours after police shot the man Sunday in Englewood. In a statement, police said the man fired at police officers, who then shot him. He was hit in the shoulder and is recovering, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a Monday press conference.
After the shooting, a crowd gathered at the scene as people protested police violence.
Police, who were monitoring social media, saw posts encouraging people to form a car caravan to the Loop so they could loot, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said.
“This was not an organized protest; rather, this was an incident of pure criminality. This was an act of violence against our police officers and against our city,” he said.
Police sent 400 officers to the Downtown area, where looting soon began, Brown said.
There were also scattered reports of looting and vandalism in more residential neighborhoods. The first incident of looting happened at a store near 87th and the Dan Ryan, Brown said.
But the brunt of the looting was Downtown, where hundreds of people took to the streets overnight, dozens of stores were broken into and police clashed with crowds.
Two people were shot — one a civilian and one a security guard — amid the looting and were taken to Northwestern Hospital in critical condition, Brown said. Thirteen police officers were injured throughout the night, as well.
“We are waking up in shock today,” Lightfoot said. “This was straight-up felony criminal conduct.”
The city lifted Downtown bridges over the Chicago River and shut down expressway entrances to try to control the crowds. The CTA suspended service into Downtown, but began to restore it at 8 a.m.
Brown said access to the Loop will be restricted 8 p.m.-6 a.m. for the foreseeable future beginning Monday. Asked for details about how that will be enforced, Lightfoot said the city is still working out, but officials want to ensure people who live and work in the Loop can still easily access the neighborhood.
Amid unrest at the end of May, similar measures led to widespread looting and vandalism in the neighborhoods. To prevent that from happening this time, the Chicago Police Department will deploy officers “in large measures” to neighborhoods for their protection, Brown said.
Officers have also had their days off canceled and will work 12-hour shifts for the time being, Brown said.
Workers from city agencies like Streets and Sanitation will be stationed throughout the neighborhoods to help police, Lightfoot said. They’ll be in place until the city knows “our neighborhoods are safe.”
The city is also working with state police, but there are no plans to call in the National Guard, Lightfoot said.
What happened is “deeply painful,” Lightfoot said. “This was an assault on our city. … It undermines public safety and breeds a sense of insecurity among our residents.”
Lightfoot and Brown said more than 100 people were arrested for things like disorderly conduct, battery to officers and theft. They called on the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to prosecute those people, saying they need to know there will be consequences for looting.
Not many people were prosecuted “to the fullest extent” after unrest in May and June, Brown said.
“We have to have consequences for the arrests Chicago Police officers make,” Brown said.
Their plans were quickly criticized by activists on social media, who said the city and Police Department are prioritizing high-end stores over people and putting more officers on the streets will endanger Black people.
The looting began about 11 p.m. Sunday, said police spokesman Hector Alfaro.
Dozens of stores had windows smashed and merchandise stolen, including in River North, the Gold Coast, the Loop and South Loop. Damage was also seen at the Apple store at North and Clybourn in Lincoln Park.
A scared cleaning crew locked themselves inside Nordstrom, according to reports.
Several people looting were seen hauling off stolen merchandise that they had to set down on the sidewalk while they waited to get a ride.
Some of the people looting told The Daily Line they came Downtown in response to the police shooting in Englewood.
About 4:30 a.m., Chicago Police officers exchanged gunfire with people shooting in the crowd near Michigan Avenue and Lake Street, Alfaro said. It is unknown if anyone was wounded in that incident.
A Chicago Police SWAT team in riot gear and gas masks raced to the area to assist officers in riot helmets and shields with their batons out. Police formed lines to move out groups of people who gathered together.
The overnight looting follows widespread looting in the Loop and in neighborhoods across the city in late May. That unrest came after organized protests over police killing George Floyd in Minneapolis.