15 arrested in connection with Loop chaos after 2 teens shot near Millennium Park: Chicago police

A 16-year-old boy was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, and a firearm was recovered: police

ByTre Ward and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, April 17, 2023
15 arrested in connection with Loop chaos after 2 teens shot: CPD
15 people were arrested in connection with a Chicago Loop disturbance, police said. Two teens were injured in a Chicago shooting near Millennium Park.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Fifteen people were arrested after large groups gathered downtown and two teenagers were shot near Millennium Park on Saturday night, Chicago police said.

The shooting happened in the 0-100 block of East Washington Street at about 9 p.m., police said.

Police said a 16-year-old boy was shot in the arm, and a 17-year-old boy was shot in the leg. Both victims were transported to Northwestern Hospital in fair condition. There is no one in custody and police are investigating.

CPD said officers responded to several large groups of juveniles and young adults who were "engaging in reckless and disruptive behavior" and "putting themselves and the public at risk for harm." Officers arrested nine adults and six juveniles.

Police said most of the charges were for reckless conduct, but a 16-year-old boy was also charged with unlawful use of a weapon, and a firearm was recovered. An adult and a juvenile were also charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.

There was a large police presence downtown as officers worked to clear large the crowds. Video showed dozens of officers lining the street near Washington and State.

"When I came back , this whole area was lined with - this street was blocked off by a wall of police up the next block," said David Clark, who witnessed the Loop gathering.

Earlier on Saturday night, a viewer shared cell phone video showing a group of people jumping on a vehicle along Michigan Avenue.

Both Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson responded on Sunday.

Lightfoot issued a statement, saying, in part, "parents and guardians must know where their children are and be responsible for their actions." The mayor said she has met with CPD leadership about how they plan to address large crowds as Chicago moves into the summer months.

Johnson said the "destructive activity" was "unacceptable," going on to say, '"however, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities."

It was just last summer when similar violence played out during large gatherings in the Loop. That's when 16-year-old Seandell Holliday was shot and killed in Millennium Park.

The city later enacted restrictions on minors at the park after 6 p.m. on weekends, along with a 10 p.m. citywide curfew for minors.

Elizabeth Cohen, who's seen it all outside of her high rise window across from Millennium Park, is hoping some safety changes are made as Chicago moves into the summer months.

"It makes me nervous. And, I hope it will improve," she said. "It's hard to think that this is the beginning of the warm season, and it's back to this."

Saturday marked the second night in a row in which large gatherings ended in violence.

A similar gathering on Friday night at 31st Street Beach also ended in violence with a 14-year-old boy, police said, shot in his thigh.

Lightfoot's full statement:

"Twice in the last few days, several large groups of young people have gathered across the city. Many of them were there to have a good time and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather. However, some of those young people were involved in reckless, disrespectful and unlawful behavior. As I have said before, we as a city cannot and will not allow any of our public spaces to become a platform for criminal conduct. Most importantly, parents and guardians must know where their children are and be responsible for their actions. Instilling the important values of respect for people and property must begin at home.

I appreciate the individuals and business people who have reached out to me to express concerns. I have shared those concerns with the acting Superintendent and senior leadership within the Police Department in very candid and productive conversations.

CPD leadership has assured me that they will make the necessary adjustments to address these teen trends issues as we move into the summer months.

We have invested millions of dollars to support community-based organizations to partner with youth to co-activate fun, safe spaces all over the City throughout the year. We ask parents to partner with us by making sure that your children's plans are safe and that they know when to exit a situation before it becomes unsafe."

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