More than 40 shot, four killed on South Side

April 2, 2010 9:10:15 PM PDT
Violence has erupted in Chicago, and police say they are mobilizing to try to contain it. More than 40 people have been shot in just over two days. Four of those people died.The shootings began late Thursday night and stretched into Friday evening.

"Between March 31st and 2 a.m. this morning -- in 50 hours-- 41 people have been shot in 31 incidents, including four homicides," Chicago police Supt. Jody Weis said during a news conference Friday.

Thursday night saw a rash of at least seven shootings within two hours. The most brazen violence occurred as police, some of them heavily armed, responded to an earlier shooting nearby.

"If someone is going to fire weapons in the vicinity of three dozen officers armed, in uniform, the question I have to ask is, 'What will they do when we're not here?'" Weis said .

Weis said that shooting and two earlier events all appear to be related.

"We have very promising leads on the individuals who were engaged in last night's activities," Weis said.

As Weis addressed the media at the corner of 66th Stand Marshfield Friday -- specifically talking about how police are going to respond to the recent uptick in violence-- someone started yelling that another shooting had just taken place.

Just four blocks from where members of the media were assembled , a man in his 20s was shot in the head inside his vehicle.

"We've got the kids right here riding their bikes around, and for somebody to come down and shoot someone, this is no safe environment for kids to be around," one area resident told ABC7 Chicago.

The series of shootings began Thursday night at approximately 10:54 p.m., and within an hour, at least two more shootings occurred within blocks of each other. A 30-year-old man died on South Paulina, and a 27-year-old was shot and killed in the Bronzeville neighborhood. Those incidents were followed by a shootout in the Englewood neighborhood and another at 112th Street.

Some of the chaos overnight was caught on camera by videojournalist Ken Herzlich. Police had responded to the shooting of four people near 66th St. and Marshfield Ave., apparently an extension of gang violence. Herzlich recorded police scrambling for cover as gunshots rang out nearby.

"I was amazed," said Herzlich. "I couldn't believe that somebody would have the audacity to do that given the presence of the amount of police officers that were there at the time."

The shots were fired into a crowd. A woman suffered a graze wound to the head, and a man was hit in the lower back. Neither was seriously injured.

"I continually ask the community, if you know anything, please, I beg of you, call us and let us know," Weis said.

Weis said the two shootings on Marshfield were connected to a gang-related shooting nearby. Six people are being questioned, but no one had been charged Friday night.

A gulf of mistrust remains between many Englewood residents and police, but no one has an explanation for the rash of shootings. Residents say, unfortunately, similar incidents --while tragic-- are neither shocking, nor surprising, not in Englewood.

"It's something you come to expect around here. So, on a hot day, don't get too far from your house so when the shots start, you can run. Really. Always, around here, somebody is going to want revenge," a neighbor said.

At the Friday news conference, Weis outlined a number of strategies to combat the violence, including an immediate increase of uniformed officers on the streets in ' hot spots' as part of a saturation policy.

Weis also said police are going to target illegal parties with renewed force because many of them result in violence.