2 Lower West Side shootings that left 3 dead may be connected, Ald. Sigcho-Lopez says

The separate attacks Monday appear to be connected to an entrenched gang conflict that’s flared up, the alderman says.

SHARE 2 Lower West Side shootings that left 3 dead may be connected, Ald. Sigcho-Lopez says
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A man was found shot multiple times in the 2200 block of South Bell Avenue. A short time later, a man and a woman in a vehicle were shot dead on West 21st Street.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

In just 45 minutes on Monday afternoon, a man was found shot to death on the Lower West Side and two others gunned down in separate attacks that the local alderperson said were potentially linked to an escalating gang war.

Local Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) told the Sun-Times that a preliminary police investigation revealed “there may be a connection” between the double homicide and the earlier killing.

The two shootings appear to be connected to an entrenched gang conflict that’s flared up, Sigcho-Lopez said.

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This green Jeep and a nearby black Honda were taped off by police after the shooting that left two dead Monday afternoon. Police arrested three people when a disturbance broke out as they were investigating the shooting.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

“There is always concern of retaliation, and now [it] has escalated,” he said, noting that the second shooting was caught on a nearby police surveillance camera. 

In the first attack, a 34-year-old man was shot multiple times in the 2200 block of South Bell Avenue, Chicago police said. He was found around the corner, in the 2200 block of West Cermak Road, and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Over the weekend, Sigcho-Lopez said officials were monitoring that area amid concerns over possible violence.

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About 1:45 p.m., a man and woman were shot while driving east in the 2400 block of West 21st Street, just a few blocks from the earlier shooting. The vehicle came to a rest after striking another car in the next block, police said.

The man, 32, and woman, 29, were pronounced dead at the scene, and an officer was injured during an apparent disturbance with onlookers, police said. The man was identified as Michel Cruz and the woman was identified as Micaela Castaneda by the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The officer was “maintaining control of the scene” when she suffered an injured leg, police said. Three people were taken into custody in connection with the incident.

Police taped off two cars: a green Jeep on the west side of Western, with half a dozen evidence markers nearby; and a black Honda on the east side of Western with front-end damage. 

A woman cried near the scene as police investigated. “I just lost my sister,” she said.

Other family members and friends of the victims gathered at Mount Sinai but declined to speak to a Sun-Times reporter.

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Police work the scene where two people were killed on the Lower West Side. Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez called for more funds for violence prevention.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Sigcho-Lopez called for more funding for anti-violence work, along with a transparent system showing “how these funds are being used.” 

“Many of these incidents — homicides and tragedies — keep going on in some of the most vulnerable areas of the city,” he said. “So I think there’s a lot of work in terms of accountability all around.”

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