UPTOWN — A series of shootings in Uptown has worried residents of a new apartment building as police say they are working to crack down on a longstanding gang conflict.
One person has been killed and five others wounded in shootings at the corner of Wilson Avenue and Sheridan Road since late July. The latest shooting, on Aug. 24, wounded four people standing at the corner.
On July 20, a 20-year-old Uptown man was killed and a 19-year-old man was wounded after being shot while standing at the corner, authorities said.
The shootings stem from a “historic gang conflict,” Commander Chris Papaioannou of the Town Hall police district said at a community meeting Wednesday. He did not say if the two shootings were connected but mentioned that the victims were “targeted” and some of those involved came from outside the neighborhood.
“These were gang members from other districts getting involved with the ones in ours,” Papaioannou said. “They were in a constant fight, back and forth. We have an idea of who these individuals are. We’ve already made contact.”
The shootings have rattled some Uptown neighbors, including some in the mid-rise apartment building at 4555 N. Sheridan Rd. One of the shootings shattered glass at the building, which opened to renters in 2019. Five residents of the building, known as Upshore Chapter, spoke at a meeting held virtually Wednesday by Ald. James Cappleman (46th) about issues of safety around the intersection.
“Can we just have [a police officer] assigned here for a week or two so we can feel safe?” asked a women who lives in Upshore Chapter. “Because I’m really scared. I really love this building but it makes you want to move because I’m scared of the neighborhood.”
Darrin Davis said he had only lived at the Wilson and Sheridan corner for a month and was almost hit in one of the recent shootings.
“I love this building,” he said. “I just don’t see myself … staying in the general area with everything that’s going on.”
Cappleman and local police officials said they are taking steps to address the recent violence.
Patrols have been stepped up in the area, including the presence of tactical teams, Papaioannou said. Those patrols resulted in police recovering four guns, he said.
“After that shooting, the [tactical] officers who are there all the time, actually pulled over a car, made four arrests and recovered three firearms based on that shooting,” he said.
Cappleman said his office will partner with the State’s Attorneys Community Justice Center and the Uptown Chamber to hold a “business walk” in the Wilson and Sheridan corridor. The event will help business managers tell police about specific problems they’re facing.
The 46th Ward office will also host a positive loitering event in the area, a community show of force the can “create lasting change,” the ward office said in an email to constituents.
Cappleman also met with management at Upshore Chapter about adding security cameras to the building. The alderman asked management to call 911 more frequently and urged neighbors to do the same. Wednesday’s meeting also included a presentation from a 911 dispatcher on how best to use the service to address recurring crime.
“It’s those 911 calls that really get more police in our community,” Cappleman said at the meeting.
Some neighbors said they were uneasy about calling the police for issues like loitering, even if they do feel unsafe by the situation. But with the combined efforts of police, elected officials and the community, neighbors are hoping to feel safer in the area.
“The flow of information regarding those incidents have not been good,” one resident of 4555 N. Sheridan said at the meeting. “A lot of people are very traumatized by this. This is something we can tackle with a better flow of information.”
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