3 killed in shootout at drifting event; illegal street takeovers ‘traumatizing the city,’ Ald. Lopez says
Sunday morning gathering of more than 100 drivers in Brighton Park was only one of several monitored by police that turned violent, Chicago police commander said.
Three people died and two were wounded in a shootout early Sunday at an intersection in Brighton Park, where drivers had taken over an intersection in one of several unauthorized drifting events overnight in Chicago, police said.
Police had been monitoring a “large car caravan” on surveillance video at Archer and Kedzie avenues on the Southwest Side with 100 drivers and people drifting in the intersection, Police Cmdr. Don Jerome told reporters at the scene.
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As officers responded to the stunt driving spectacle, at least 13 gunshots were recorded by the police’s gunshot detection system around 4 a.m., he said.
Police monitoring the scene by video told the officers that “people [were] hitting the ground,” Jerome said.
Five people were involved in the shooting, Jerome said. Three of those people, all males between 15 to 20 years old with gang affiliations, were killed, he said.
Two other men, ages 19 and 21, were listed in serious condition at hospitals and expected to survive, he said.
Police were still looking for one or two gunmen, Jerome said. No weapons were recovered at the scene, he said.
After the shooting, police taped off two vehicles on the northeast corner of the intersection near a car insurance business. Two puddles of dried blood could be seen on the sidewalk.
The shooting happened at one of several car caravans that police were monitoring overnight in Chicago, Jerome said. The caravan at Archer and Kedzie was the only caravan to turn violent, he said.
Illegal drifting events have grown more numerous this year in Chicago. Over the summer, the illegal drifting events came to a head with clashes between police and drivers. City officials responded by passing an ordinance to impound drivers’ cars and fine them up to $10,000.
But the illegal “takeovers” have continued every weekend for the past several weeks in Brighton Park, according to Johnny Castro, owner of Monterrey Bakery on Archer Avenue.
“It’s been a problem” every Friday and Saturday night, he said. Police had blocked off the same intersection a couple of weeks ago in an attempt to disrupt another caravan, he said.
The takeovers have been happening so regularly, Castro questioned if police would be able to stop them in the future. “It’s like, what can you do?” he asked.
Local Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) said Sunday’s shooting shows city officials are not doing enough to address the car caravans.
“It’s traumatizing the city, and we’re not doing anything aggressive about it,” he said.
Lopez, who is running for mayor, said the city’s laws against drifting are “passive.” Police should target the social media accounts responsible for promoting the drifting events, he said.
Lopez claimed Sunday’s shooting stemmed from a dispute between opposing gangs that were at the street takeover. With gang members now attending these drifting events, “we’ll continue to have dangerous climaxes” like on Sunday, Lopez said.
Police are additionally hampered in their response to these takeovers because of the hundreds of drivers blocking the way to the intersection, Lopez said.
“Even if officers are on site, they can’t intervene and save lives,” he said.
Drifting takeovers have been happening across the country this year, and some in Los Angeles and Portland have turned deadly from gun violence. But Sunday’s shootout in Brighton Park may be the first drifting takeover in Chicago this year to turn deadly.
Two people were wounded in shootings near Loop gridlock during Mexican Independence Day celebrations in September, but they were not connected to Chicago’s drifting scene.
Murders are rising in Brighton Park compared to last year. Twelve people have been killed in the area this year, two more than in the same period last year, according to Sun-Times records.
Contributing: Manny Ramos