Five teenagers were wounded in a shooting early Sunday at a gathering in the Lawndale neighborhood — just hours after officers enforcing the statewide stay-at-home order broke up another get-together in the same block.
Officers initially responded about 8:45 p.m. Saturday to the 3700 block of West 13th Street and dispersed a crowd, police said. Officers then returned to the block just after 3:30 a.m. Sunday when five males between the ages of 15 and 19 were struck by bullets sprayed from a passing gray sedan during a “large gathering.”
The teenage victims were all taken to hospitals in fair condition, police said. As of Sunday evening, no one was in custody.
The attack happened a day after Mayor Lori Lightfoot offered a stark warning to partygoers as she walked through the East Garfield Park neighborhood, just over a mile from where the gunfire erupted.
“We will shut you down, we will cite you, and if we need to, we will arrest you,” Lightfoot said, standing in a block where police preemptively put the kibosh on a planned party. “If you act like a criminal, and you violate the law, and if you refuse to do what is necessary to save lives in this city during the middle of a pandemic, we will take you to jail.”
Despite the scolding, no citations were issued and no one was arrested at the gathering on 13th Street or at others that were busted Saturday night in the 300 block of South Campbell and the 3100 block of West Lexington, police said. On Friday, however, cops wrote six tickets to people violating the stay-at-home order.
The push to tamp down large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic comes after video taken at a packed party in Galewood last week garnered national attention.
A Chicago Fire Department commander who owns the townhome where the party took place was hit with “a couple of citations for public nuisance” and “put on notice” that it can’t happen again, according to local Ald. Gilbert Villegas, who serves as Lightfoot’s City Council floor leader. Paramedic commander Christine Matthews said the party was held by her son, who said he was honoring two friends who were shot to death, according to the Chicago Tribune.
During his daily press briefing on Sunday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker noted that officers in Chicago worked proactively this weekend to break up “many more” parties while striking a softer tone than Lightfoot had a day earlier.
“We’re not looking to have police crack down on people, arrest people,” Pritzker said. “That is not the intent here, but it is true that police can break up a party and should.”
Asked about a shooting early Sunday at a party of around 200 people in Peoria that left a man dead and another person wounded, Pritzker reiterated that the state’s distancing guidelines were put in place “to keep people safe.”
As African Americans and Latinos are hit especially hard by the coronavirus, Pritzker called on community leaders to make it clear to young people how serious the virus is.
“Even if you think you’re invincible and you’re in your 20s, here’s what can happen: You could get coronavirus and not suffer very badly from it. But you will be carrying it around and giving it to others,” Pritzker said. “Do you have a grandmother? Do you have a parent? Do you have a friend who’s older than you who has a co-morbidity, who might have diabetes or has heart disease?
“You’re putting them at risk when you are willing to ignore the rules that we put in place here.”