Laundromat patrons ponder violence that left 6 shot

Written By BY STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporter Posted: 07/05/2014, 06:16am
Array Six people were reported shot at this laundromat in the South Shore neighborhood on Monday night. | Alex Wroblewsk/Sun-Times

A discarded strip of blood-smeared police tape fluttered in the breeze early Tuesday as a man hauled a tub of clothes into Sudz Coin Laundry, where six people were shot the night before.

Plywood covered some windows, but otherwise it was business as usual at the laundromat, 2660 E. 79th St.

Inside, competing with TV jabber and the slosh of a dozen washing machines, customers Roger Chandler and Oliver Guiton were trying to wrap their minds around events of the night before.

“This is a laundromat — it ain’t no liquor store,” said Guiton, 61, sipping a Dr Pepper. “I don’t understand it.”

Chandler nodded.

“It’s just crazy,” he said.

Police said the shooting appears to stem from a longstanding conflict between the Black P Stones and a Gangster Disciples faction.

The area, known as Terror Town, is bounded by 75th and 79th streets, from Yates to Colfax. Police have designated it a gang conflict zone that needs extra police.

In 2012, two people were killed and 13 wounded in two separate mass shootings in the area.

“The preliminary indication is that this looks like some sort of gang violence — whether it’s retaliation or what, we’re not positive at this point,” Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Tuesday.

That conclusion would hardly surprise neighbors like Lisa Thompson, who went to check on the shooting scene Monday night.

“That’s all it is is gangs, Gangs, gangs, gangs, gangs, gangs,” Thompson said.

Investigators have some “good leads,” McCarthy said, adding, “It’s moving forward rather quickly.”

The six shot about 8:15 p.m. Monday included two boys, ages 14 and 16, police said. The others shot ranged in age from their mid-20s to their early 50s.

The 14-year-old was taken to University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, while the 16-year-old was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Fire Media Affairs Chief Larry Langford said.

Four were found in the laundromat, near the door, Langford said; the others were on the street.

A seventh person, a woman, was taken to a hospital after falling while running from the scene.

Three of the victims were released from hospitals Monday night. The rest were expected to be released later Tuesday, McCarthy said.

Rose Chandler, Roger Chandler’s wife, said she would have gone elsewhere to do her laundry had she known about the previous night’s mayhem.

“There’s still blood here,” she said, looking at the police tape and discarded bandage packaging lying near the front door. “When I came, I got kind of scared and thought maybe I’ll turn back. They have to stop all this shooting. Pick up a book.”

But the laundry had to get done, she decided — which is how Andre Lewis felt.

“I’m not going to let this senseless violence really stop me — having me captive in my home,” said Lewis, 39. He had planned to do laundry Monday night, but for some reason, he changed his mind.

“Things work for mysterious reasons,” he said.

A father with three small children — one in a stroller — walked past the laundromat Tuesday morning. One of the children stopped to look at the blood stains in the parking lot; the father quickly shooed his kids away.

One customer, who would give only his first name — Freddy — sat watching the stream of violent news stories blaring from the TVs.

The world is awash in violence — and the city’s South Side is no different, he said.

“I don’t care where you at,” he said. “There’s stuff that happens. What do you do about it? That’s the question.”

Contributing: Frank Main, Mitch Dudek

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