LINCOLN PARK — A man was ambushed, robbed and shot in his head early Friday by a gunman who hid by a building to wait for him to approach, a “terrifying” attack captured on surveillance video.
The victim underwent emergency surgery and was listed in critical condition, officials said.
The graphic surveillance video, which includes sound, shows the man struggling with two robbers who took his phone and backpack and shot him three times before leaving. Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who lives nearby, said it appears the two attackers were connected to at least one other robbery in the area.
“We’re hopeful that he will live, but as far as what extend the injuries will be remains to be seen,” Hopkins said.
The shooting happened about 3 a.m. in the 1300 block of West Webster Avenue. Officers were called to the block and found a man in his 20s who had been shot twice in his back and once in his head, police said.
The man was taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital in critical condition, police said. No one was in custody, and an investigation is ongoing.
A widely shared video from crime blog CWB shows the robbery and shooting. Gunmen in a light-colored car pulled over on Wayne Avenue, just past its intersection with Webster Avenue. One of the attackers got out of the car and hid behind a building while and waited for the victim to walk by, the video shows. The attacker peeked around the building several times to watch the victim walk closer.
As the victim neared, the attacker pulled out a gun and came out from around the corner, asking for the victim’s phone.
The man gave the attacker his bag and the robber again asked for his phone. The victim took it out and then reached to the robber’s gun, the video shows.
The two fell to the ground, struggling, while the second attacker got out of the waiting car.
The first attacker then stood up and shot the victim twice while the victim laid back down and screamed. The second attacker went back to the car.
The first robber picked up the man’s phone from the ground and demanded the man’s password, the video shows. The man began to say his phone password.
The robber then moved close to the victim and shot him in his head.
Neighbors went to help the man, arriving even before officers and paramedics got to the scene of the shooting, Hopkins said.
“It’s just very upsetting,” Hopkins said. “I’ve talked to quite a few of my neighbors; many of them heard the gunshots. It’s a traumatizing event for everyone.
“… It’s a horrible thing to have happen anywhere in your city, but when it happens outside your door in the middle of the night, it’s something that really can frighten you on a different level.”
The man survived emergency surgery at Illinois Masonic Hospital and was in critical condition as of Friday afternoon, Hopkins said. He did not have his ID on him and has not been able to communicate, so officials have not been able to identify him.
Hopkins said the attackers appeared to have been involved in at least one other robbery, saying a DePaul student was robbed early Friday near Fullerton and Clifton avenues, and the attackers and their car matched the description of those used in the shooting.
That robbery happened about 3 a.m. in the 1100 block of West Fullerton Avenue, police said. An 18-year-old man was walking when someone with a gun got out of a white car and demanded the man’s belongings.
The man gave the robber his belongings, and the robber got into the car and took off, police said. No one was hurt and an investigation was ongoing.
Hopkins said the shooting highlights how police need to make adjustments to how they’re patrolling neighborhoods, especially when there are sprees of robberies.
“One thing that I think is something we can improve upon is when there is a robbery spree that is developing, to identify the pattern as it’s unfolding,” Hopkins said. “Rather than to wait until the next day and put the puzzle together and realize the same crew of offenders are committing multiple armed robberies in the same geographic area. We need to do a better job identifying that in real time using the technology that’s available and then attempting to intervene.
“… Knowing that is happening, we need to find a better way to intervene and attempt to make arrests while the robbery spree is still in progress.”
By Friday afternoon, the crime scene at Wayne and Webster had been cleared and all that was left was a strip of yellow tape hanging from an orange construction sign.
One neighbor who lives down the street on Webster said she woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of gunshots.
“It was terrifying,” she said. “We really don’t get a lot of shootings around here, so I had to stop and ask myself if it was really gunshots that I heard.”
The neighbor said she was too tired and scared to go outside to see what had happened, and she was concerned to read the next day that the shooter might have been involved in another robbery.
“To know that people are going around in crime sprees, especially right by your house — it’s concerning,” she said. “You take safety for granted and then something like this happens and makes you wonder what if this happened to you.”
Another neighbor, who lives a block from the shooting on Wayne, said the shooting made him wonder if Chicago is as safe as it used to be.
“My parents left Chicago 35 years ago because of gun violence close to their house,” he said. “I was born here, raised away from Chicago, but moved back. Now my fiancé and I are wondering how much has really changed in those 35 years.”
The neighbor said he’s watched as armed robberies and carjackings have gone up in the Lincoln Park area, but to have one near his home was “chilling.”
“It’s so close to home,” he said. “And I’m growing frustrated with reading all these stories about robberies, carjackings or in this case, a shooting, and not seeing any arrests made.”