Six people were shot outside a party late Saturday in Austin on the West Side, including a 12-year-old girl and four other females in their teens.
About 11:40 p.m., they were standing with a group on the sidewalk in the 5000 block of West Ohio Street when someone in a dark-colored SUV fired shots, Chicago police said. Five of the victims, females ranging in age from 12 to 19, were hospitalized in fair condition.
Marshawn Feltus, an Austin resident working to improve the historically violent area, said he heard the shoots ring out after an argument broke out during a lengthy party. Multiple people have told him there was more than one shooter, he added.
“It is so devastating that these get-togethers are turning into mass shootings. And it seems to be more of a common occurrence no matter where throughout the city,” Feltus said. “But when young and older people alike are partying, it seems to inevitably turn into some type of mass shooting, which is very disturbing.”
The 12-year-old girl was struck in the hand and driven by family members to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, police said.
Two other girls, 13 and 14, were both shot in the buttocks, and a 19-year-old woman was shot in the back, police said. They were all rushed to Stroger Hospital.
A 15-year-old girl was also struck in the buttocks and grazed in the head, and a 25-year-old man was shot in the buttocks, police said. The girl was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, and the man showed up at the same hospital, but was treated and released, police said.
No arrests have been reported.
The attack came less than 24 hours after another mass shooting in Austin left a man dead and three others wounded. A police spokesman couldn’t say whether the shootings were connected.
The earlier shooting happened about 11:55 p.m. Friday in the 700 block of North Lockwood Avenue, where police said the four men were standing when three people approached and opened fire.
Over the last five years, Chicago has recorded the most mass shootings in the nation by far, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive.
So far this year, Chicago has recorded at least 33 shootings that have wounded four or more victims, according to a Sun-Times analysis of city data. The city is now on pace to surpass the 48 total mass shootings tallied last year, when that number jumped amid a surge in violent crime that has continued this year.
Saturday’s shooting is the fourth this year in the Austin police district and the third reported within the same beat, records maintained by the Sun-Times show.
As part of the city’s summer safety plan, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration identified 15 “priority community areas” to deploy extra police resources. Austin topped the list because it had the highest number of shootings and homicides between 2018 and 2020.
While eight of those areas have seen higher or similar rates of violent crime, Austin and six others have experienced a drop off from last year.
Austin has seen the greatest decrease in the total number of shootings from last year, according to Sun-Times records. But the neighborhood has still experienced a nearly 18% increase in shooting and homicides compared to 2019.
Feltus said police in Austin need even more resources to disperse large gatherings during “party hours.” Though he noted that residents “should be able to party and have a good time,” he believes it’s now necessary to take more precautions.
“It seems to be open season that people are taking it into their hands that they’re just gonna open up on crowds,” he said.
Over the recent 4th of July weekend — the city’s most violent this year — the commander of the Austin District and a police sergeant were wounded when a gunman shot into a crowd of revelers in the 100 block of North Long Avenue. Feltus, who lives just steps from where that shooting occurred, has claimed the shooter was targeting police officials.
Feltus said he was disturbed that girls so young were on hand for the late-night party Saturday. A convicted murderer who served 18 years in prison and now runs his own yoga business, Feltus said he believes more resources should go into programs designed to steer youth in high-crime areas “down a better path” than he started on.
“It’s not just a police problem,” Feltus said of the city’s violence. “It’s a community problem, and it affects everyone in the community.”
Contributing: Jermaine Nolen