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8 shot — 2 killed — in overnight gun violence

Police investigate a person shot multiple times in a car Sunday morning in the 5200 block of West Thomas Street, in the Austin Neighborhood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

As snowflakes fell quietly on the city, gunfire was erupting overnight into early Sunday morning — leaving two men dead and half a dozen others wounded before sunrise.

About 4:30 a.m., a man was fatally shot in front of his wife as they arrived in the Gage Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side.

Abel Cruz, 39, was driving with his wife when he noticed a red truck following him to their destination in the 5200 block of South Artesian Avenue, Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.

Chicago police and fire department respond to the scene of a person shot and killed Sunday morning in the 5200 block of South Artesian, in the Gage Park neighborhood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
Chicago police and fire department respond to the scene of a person shot and killed Sunday morning in the 5200 block of South Artesian, in the Gage Park neighborhood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

When they arrived, a male in the truck flashed a gang sign and Cruz did likewise, authorities said. The male in the truck then fired shots and struck Cruz in the back of his head, killing him at the scene. His wife was uninjured.

Cruz lived in the same block where he was killed, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Another deadly shooting claimed the life of 22-year-old Quantis Smith in West Town.

Officers responded about 11:40 p.m. on Saturday to the 1300 block of West Huron Street and found Smith on a sidewalk with a gunshot wound to his chest, police and the medical examiner’s office said. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he died.

Quantis Smith | Facebook
Quantis Smith | Facebook

A black SUV was seen traveling east from the scene, police said. No one was in custody.

“It saddens me that they took my son from me,” Smith’s mother wrote on his Facebook page early Sunday. “I want all y’all to be okay. I’m okay. Love you all.”

After the shooting, officers marked off seven shell casings on the ground.

A resident standing near the crime scene said he remembered years ago when shootings were common in the neighborhood and a nearby intersection was contested gang territory.

The violence mellowed out over the last decade, according to the man who asked to remain unnamed. But that changed recently, he said. Just last Sunday, he woke up at 3 a.m. to the sound of about nine gunshots.

Video by Tyler LaRiviere

In nonfatal shootings, two teenage girls and a man were injured when gunfire entered their car about 4:15 a.m. in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side.

They were traveling in the car in the 6500 block of South Hoyne Avenue when shots were fired from a passing black van, police said.

Police investigate the scene where three people were wounded whiled traveling in a vehicle, Sunday morning in the 6500 block of South Hoyne in the Englewood neighborhood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
Police investigate the scene where three people were wounded whiled traveling in a vehicle, Sunday morning in the 6500 block of South Hoyne in the Englewood neighborhood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

A 15-year-old girl was shot in her leg and was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital, police said. Another girl, 16, was injured by shattering glass but was not hit by gunfire. She had cuts to her face and body. Both girls were listed in good condition.

The 23-year-old man driving the vehicle was shot in his groin and transported to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where his condition stabilized, police said.

Police said they believed the man was the target of the shooting. The relationship between the victims was unknown.

A dozen shell casings were scattered on the ground near the shot-up car.

Video by Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

About the same time, a woman was shot and wounded in the McKinley Park neighborhood on the South Side.

The 18-year-old was a passenger in a vehicle in the 2000 block of West Pershing Road when she heard gunfire and realized she was shot in her leg, police said. The woman was dropped off at Holy Cross Hospital in good condition. No one was in custody.

Forty-five minutes earlier, a 22-year-old man was wounded in the Portage Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

About 3:30 a.m., the man was walking in the 5000 block of West Newport Avenue when someone in a passing vehicle fired shots, police said. He was struck in his abdomen, groin and foot, and was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where his condition stabilized. No one was in custody.

About 3 a.m., a 15-year-old boy was wounded in the East Garfield Park neighborhood.

The boy was walking in the 3600 block of West Ohio Street when someone in a dark-colored car fired shots, police said. He was struck in his leg and taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition. No one was in custody.

Police investigate a person shot multiple times in a car Sunday morning in the 5200 block of West Thomas Street, in the Austin Neighborhood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times
Police investigate a person shot multiple times in a car Sunday morning in the 5200 block of West Thomas Street, in the Austin Neighborhood. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The first nonfatal shooting overnight critically wounded a man in the West Side Austin neighborhood. About 1:15 a.m., officers responded to the 5200 block of West Thomas Street and found a 35-year-old man unresponsive in the driver’s seat of a parked car, police said.

The man was taken to Stroger Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, according to police. He was in critical condition.

Witnesses at the scene did not offer information about the shooting, police said. No one was in custody.

Multiple shell casings were on the ground near the vehicle’s passenger window.

Video by Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times