CHICAGO — At least 21 people were shot and there were two mass shootings during a “disheartening” Tuesday in Chicago, officials said.
Tuesday saw sunny, warm weather return to Chicago — and with it came a surge in shootings that left two people dead and 19 wounded. No one was in custody in the two mass shootings that occurred in Back of the Yards and Woodlawn, Supt. David Brown said during a Wednesday morning news conference where he detailed the violence.
Brown and other officials said the city is working on solutions that can prevent violence.
The first mass shooting happened 4:30 p.m. in the 4800 block of South Ada Street in Back of the Yards. A group of people in a stolen red Mazda saw rivals and the two groups fired shots at each other, police said.
A 19-year-old man was shot in his head and the left side of his body and was pronounced dead, police said. Four other victims — two 16-year-old boys and two 18-year-old men — were wounded, with one in critical condition while the others had non-life-threatening wounds, Brown said.
Police chased the gunmen in the red Mazda, and the driver crashed, Brown said. No one was in custody.
Investigators found two rifles, as well as casings for other types of guns, Brown said.
A large crowd of people gathered at the scene of the shooting, and some people in the crowd battered police officers, Brown said. Two men have been charged in connection to that, he said.
“Unfortunately, though, the level of violence that we experienced last night is beyond what’s even reasonable — there’s no reason for it,” Craig Chico, president of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, said at the news conference. “It’s unacceptable … .
“To see what we saw last night is extremely disheartening and emotional.”
The Back of the Yards shooting was part of a weeks-long gang conflict that has seen multiple shootings, including at least one that killed a man, Brown said.
Later Tuesday night, there was a mass shooting Jackson Park.
About 10:30 p.m. in the 6400 block of South Richards Drive, a woman from Indiana was livestreaming a rap video in the park when another group of people began a separate livestream, Brown said.
The two groups got into an argument, which led to them shooting at each other, Brown said. He said he wasn’t sure what the argument was about.
Four women, ages 22 to 30, were wounded, and two men, 21 and 29, were wounded, police said. The six were all in critical condition but had stabilized and had non-life-threatening wounds, Brown said.
No one was in custody in that shooting, Brown said.
Officers had been at the park, which was busy, to work on a community safety plan and direct drivers, Brown said. But the groups involved in the shooting had driven around the officers to get into the park and drove off in their cars after the shooting, he said.
Officers have “a lot of work” to do in investigating that shooting, Brown said.
Brown described the violence as “senseless,” saying the Police Department is “marshaling all its resources” to find those responsible. He asked for people with information about the shootings to contact police.
Tamara Mahal, chief coordination officer of community safety, said her agency is supporting those victimized by the violence, including neighbors. They’re also working with neighborhood groups — including those in Woodlawn and Back of the Yards — and are reaching out to see what further support they can give after the shootings, she said.
The city has seen a year-over-over decline in shootings, according to the Police Department. But shootings remain stubbornly high after surging during the pandemic.
What’s “worked” for the city this year is a whole-of-government approach, rather than simply relying on policing, Brown said. That includes addressing long-term issues like poverty, mental health and housing and supporting programs that address personal and gang conflicts before they escalate into violence, he said.
“A lot of us know what the problem is; everyone can bring forth the identification of problems,” Chico said. “Unfortunately, we just haven’t really found a solution yet to this issue. It’s citywide, and it’s beyond our city boundaries, as well.
“Until we do find those solutions I think it’s important we all wrap our arms around each other … .”