Lakeview stabbing caught on video

July 4, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The victim is hospitalized in good condition. Police are now searching for the offenders.

The attack, which was caught on video, happened before midnight Sunday in the 3300-block of North Halsted. Nearly a dozen people are seen shoving, punching and kicking in the video. The target of their rage appears to be one man who quickly hits the ground as the beating continues.

"Someone spilled a drink on a passerby and he turned around to confront him. There were words exchanged and before you knew it there was a pile on the sidewalk," said John Cunningham, witness.

Cunningham and his partner, Rob Sall, witnessed and recorded the fight that quickly spilled onto Halsted. They also called 911.

Witnesses say the victim was stabbed as the mob moved behind a tree. He slammed into a storefront, then quickly got back on his feet beaten and bloodied.

"The fight moved into the street. The next thing you know we see a guy thrown against a wall with multiple lacerations on his chest. At this point traffic had stopped on the street. I was the one who made the initial 911 call," said Tony Parzgnat, witness.

"It was an obvious mob mentality. You saw people cheering it on. People running in to give one quick jab or kick and the then back out and cheering them on. It's scary," Sall said.

"It was kind of shocking to have it happen in our neighborhood, but to actually witness it was pretty amazing," said Cunningham.

Though unrelated, residents say this is the third stabbing in the area in recent weeks. The last one happened five days ago, just one block north, when a man was robbed in a 7-Eleven parking lot at Halsted and Roscoe.

Residents say the problems are due to large groups of people from outside the neighborhood loitering in the area. Alderman Tom Tunney, 44th Ward, said Monday night that this is a subject that has been coming up for the last couple of years.

"There tends to be large groups of minority youths on Halsted. Whether they are patronizing the businesses or not, it's an area where they feel safe. It's a balancing act that we're tying to make it safe for everyone," Tunney said.

But residents say that as of late, they don't feel safe, even while they praise the work the Chicago Police Department's 23rd District does there.

"It's scary. This is a notoriously safe neighborhood. Residents are concerned about the rise in violent crime," Sall said.

"It's concerning to really be out after dark," said Kevin O'Brien, Lakeview resident. "Really in the past couple of weeks it has really gotten crime heavy."

More than 1,000 people have signed on to a new "Take Back Boystown" Facebook page to express their concern about the recent violence in their neighborhood.

"Boystown was created 25 years ago on the principle of diversity and inclusion. We're not advocating for the exclusion of any one group, but we do ask people who come here to respect the basic fundamental rights of being a citizen," said Cunningham.

A police spokesperson says extra officers are on patrol in the Lakeview neighborhood and detectives are reviewing videotape of the fight and interviewing witnesses.

A community policing meeting is scheduled for Wednesday evening in Lakeview where the recent rash of crime will be discussed.

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