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Chicago police commander and sergeant wounded after police dispersed a crowd in Austin

The commander, Patrina Wines, was hit in the foot, and the sergeant was grazed in the thigh, according to the police.

Newly promoted 15th District Cmdr. Patrina Wines as she was sworn in July 15, 2020, at Chicago Police Department headquarters. She was of of two Chicago police officers shot and wounded early Monday as they spoke with neighborhood residents in Austin.
Newly promoted 15th District Cmdr. Patrina Wines as she was sworn in July 15, 2020, at Chicago Police Department headquarters. She was of of two Chicago police officers shot and wounded early Monday as they spoke with neighborhood residents in Austin.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

The Fourth of July party that filled the 100 block of North Long Avenue had kicked off in the afternoon, and the air was filled with barbecue smoke and the sounds of fireworks and children squealing as they tossed water balloons.

But the festive vibe ended not long after midnight, with a dozen squad cars clearing the street, and a police commander known for warm relations with the West Side community limping from a gunshot wound to the foot.

Patrina Wines — who’s been with the Chicago Police Department for 28 years and took over as commander of the 15th District a little over a year ago — and a police sergeant were wounded by bullets sprayed by a man who fired into a crowd of revelers around 1:30 a.m. Monday, according to the police.

Wines was hit in the foot, and the sergeant suffered a graze wound to the leg. Both were treated for their wounds, but neither required hospitalization, a police spokesman said.

The officers were standing among dozens of neighborhood residents when they were hit, according to Marshawn Feltus, a longtime resident of the block who said he saw what happened.

“There was no mistaking that they were shooting at police, and probably 50 people on the street,” Feltus said. “The brazenness or stupidity that went into it, that’s what I don’t understand. There were police cars out with lights flashing.”

Tuesday, a group of about a dozen neighborhood residents congregated in the 90-degree heat of the street, a few houses down from the shooting scene. A woman, who did not want to give her name, said she had been standing next to Wines, arguing with the police commander, when Wines’ leg crumpled and she fell to the ground. The woman heard air escaping from a punctured tire, and looked down the street a few dozen yards and saw the gunman.

“I yelled to the cops ‘There he is! Shoot him!’ And they didn’t shoot,” the woman said. “They didn’t chase him, neither and he wasn’t half a block away. That’s why they don’t catch none of these shooters.”

A street sign marks the 100 block of North Long Avenue, where police Cmdr. Patrina Wines and another officer were shot after police dispersed a crowd gathered for a Fourth of July block party. Wines was struck in the foot as she talked with neighborhood residents. 
A street sign marks the 100 block of North Long Avenue, where police Cmdr. Patrina Wines and another officer were shot after police dispersed a crowd gathered for a Fourth of July block party. Wines was struck in the foot as she talked with neighborhood residents.
Andy Grimm / Sun-Times

Not long before the shooting, a dozen or more officers had arrived to disperse the crowd. The gathering was breaking up largely peacefully when a man emerged across the street from where Wines and several other officers were talking with people, according to Feltus. The man raised a gun and fired several shots, then took off, Feltus said.

“I wouldn’t say he even ran off,” he said. “He just kind of galloped.”

Amid the noise from fireworks going off on neighboring streets, only a handful of people closest to the gunman seemed to immediately notice someone was shooting, Feltus said.

“The reaction was almost slow except for the people that was right there to see they were shooting,” he said. “The people right there called out, and you could just see people moving like a wave as they realized it was shots.”

Police Supt. David Brown said both officers will be “all right.”

“As you know, there’s been a lot of large crowd gatherings tonight, a lot of celebratory fireworks going off, kind of spontaneous,” Brown said at a news conference. “They were dispersing a crowd when they heard shots and felt pain.”

Brown said it wasn’t clear whether the officers were targeted, “or whether this was people celebrating shooting in the air, shooting indiscriminately.”

Another witness, who asked not to be named, said that people had gathered throughout the day and were launching fireworks in the street around 1 a.m., when several squad cars arrived.

Wines and several other officers were talking cordially with residents when they were shot.

“That’s not unlike her,” said Feltus, who works as a crime victim’s advocate and is active in Austin. “She’s going to come out to the scene and tell people to party safely.”

When Wines took over as commander in August 2020, the South Side native was praised for her dedication to community policing when she was introduced at a community meeting by Deputy Chief Ernest Cato, according to an article by Austin Weekly. Wines said she considered community policing — emphasizing strong ties between the police and each community — a “calling.”