Uptown shooting injures 5 in front of church | Ald. James Cappleman says 3 persons of interest in custody

August 20, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Gunshots were fired on a group people on the steps of the Uptown Baptist Church near Sheridan and Wilson Monday evening. Witnesses say at least one gunman fired as many as 20 shots from a white car.

The street where the shooting happened is a CPS Safe Passage route, and there also is a blue light police camera at the intersection. Ald. Cappleman says that police cameras and surveillance footage helped police identify three persons of interest in the shooting.

The pastor of the church, Michael Allen, ran out after the gunfire and tried to help the victims.

"I slipped out the back door to find out what had happened after the shooting stopped, and I saw the carnage on the bottom of the church steps," Pastor Allen said. "Obviously, in Uptown, we've seen shootings before, but this was probably the worst I have ever seen."

Police were able to track a suspect to a Starbucks a few blocks away. They arrested him as he hid in a bathroom.

Shattered glass at a bus stop near the scene at Wilson and Sheridan still lined the sidewalk the day after the shooting.

Initially, Chicago police said a 22-year-old man who was shot in the head had died, but authorities said Tuesday that was not the case. They said the man was in critical condition on life support. Witness Don Wayne Harris did not want to show his face on-camera, but he said he is the adopted brother of that man and another of the victims. Harris says his 22-year-old brother Darius is on life support on Tuesday afternoon.

"They're just waiting for family members to come and pull the plug," Harris said off-camera. "All the gang violence and everything, that's why he kept me from all that. I'm just praying to God, bless his soul, and hopefully, I'll make it through."

Harris says his brother was not in a gang. However, police say the shooting was gang-related.

"He was a good guy he didn't mean no harm to anybody, I don't know why people would come after him," said Harris.

Harris also said his other sibling, who is 27 years old, is expected to survive.

"He was shot in both arms and legs. [One of his] forearms is shattered," Harris said.

According to Harris, the adoptive brothers moved to Chicago from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and now share an apartment in the area.

He said he did not know why his brothers were targeted.

Three others were listed from stable to critical condition. One other person received minor injuries and was treated and released from the hospital.

The person in police custody had not been charged Tuesday.

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy told ABC7 Chicago it appeared the shooting was the result of an ongoing conflict between two gangs, a dispute that had been brewing for the last year and a half.

"It looks like a long-standing dispute between rival gangs up in that vicinity, couple issues and connect the dots," said Supt. Garry McCarthy.

"There is a lot of concern because I had just been on that side of the street 10 minutes prior. So, that kind of shook me," said Charlie Hoven, an area resident and witness.

Rev. Michael Allen isn't surprised. He says his church that sits on the corner of Wilson and Sheridan is on the border of three rival gangs. At the time of the shooting, 200 people were inside the building getting fed through the church's Monday night feed the poor program.

"Thankfully most of the people we serve there already in the building safe from gunfire," said Pastor Michael Allen, Uptown Baptist Church.

Allen says shootings on the North Side are not unusual. Allen says it's about time violence in his neighborhood gets some publicity.

"We hear about it ont he news, all day every day on the South and West sides, I think this might be a turning point," said Allen.

Pastor Allen plans on having a four-corner prayer vigil on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. Ald. Cappelman says police will have a strong presence in the area and will maintain 24-hour posts at three hotspots in Uptown, including the intersection of Wilson and Sheridan.

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