At least six people were shot after a funeral service for a Chicago rapper at a church Monday afternoon in the Burnside neighborhood on the South Side.
The mass shooting happened about 12:30 p.m. outside Bethlehem Star Missionary Baptist Church, 9231 S. Cottage Grove, authorities said. The most seriously wounded was a 21-year-old man, who was shot in the head and in critical condition at University of Chicago Medical Center. The conditions of the remaining victims had all stabilized, authorities said.
Also at U. of C. Medical Center were a 25-year-old man shot in the arm, a 27-year-old woman shot in the leg and lower body and a 24-year-old man male shot in the leg. An 18-year-old man was shot and taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and a 23-year-old man shot in the leg was taken to Advocate Trinity Hospital.
The funeral was for a 25-year-old Chicago rapper, Vantrease R. Criss, who went by the name “Dooski Tha Man,” authorities said. Criss was shot and killed earlier this month in the Washington Park neighborhood on the South Side.
A man who has lived within a block of the shooting scene for more than 15 years said he was inside his home when he heard gunfire.
The man said the shooting was “rapid fire” at first.
“Then it sounded like cannon-fire,” he added.
He asked to remain anonymous out of concern that speaking to the media could endanger him and his family.
“I still have to live here,” he said.
Roosevelt Watkins III is senior pastor of of Bethlehem Star Missionary Baptist Church, where the funeral was being held.
Watkins told ABC7 that he saw “pandemonium” outside after the gunfire started.
“People ducking under cars, running for their lives, for safety, running back inside of the church, trying to get out of harm’s way,” he said.
Witnesses told police four people in hoodies fled the scene after the shooting along with a green Toyota Camry and a blue minivan. One witness said people were “shooting from both sides of the street,” according to a police radio transmission.
Chicago drill rapper G Herbo name-dropped “Dooski Tha Man” in his 2014 song “Four Minutes of Hell Pt. 1.”
Criss was shot just before 4 p.m. Oct. 9 in the 5600 block of South Michigan Avenue, along with a woman, 20, who was struck in her left foot. Both were taken to University of Chicago Medical Center, where Criss was pronounced dead at 4:33 p.m. and the woman’s condition was stabilized, authorities said. No arrests have been made in that incident.
The woman told investigators that the shots may have come from a passing brown vehicle, police said.
Monday’s incident follows one last month when three teens were shot just a few blocks away. They were wounded near Chatham Academy High School just after 4 p.m. on Sept. 10 as they walked east on 91st Street near Langley Avenue, according to Chicago police officials.
As they walked, someone got out of a light-colored vehicle and fired at them multiple times, striking all three, police said.
Six years ago, Chicago police officers went on high alert outside gang-related funerals after a Gangster Disciples member named Sherman Miller was shot to death on the steps of St. Columbanus Catholic Church in the 300 block of East 71st. He was at church for the Nov. 26, 2012, funeral of a man who’d been murdered.
Later that year, on the orders of then-Supt. Garry McCarthy, police followed gang processions from churches to cemeteries. In at least one case, a police helicopter hovered overhead.
At the time, police officials even told reporters they believed they saved one parolee’s life by having him arrested before a gang funeral. His rivals shot him and killed his girlfriend. Police worried the rivals might try to kill him at the funeral for his girlfriend.
So police contacted state parole officials, who visited the man’s home and found a gun. The man was arrested and was unable to attend the funeral.
Although the police had increased their vigilance over gang funerals in 2012, they’ve drawn the attention of the department for decades. In 2004, for instance, a funeral motorcade for a slain Latin Kings member stopped to let someone in the procession shoot a rival gang member in the street.
The department continues to monitor gang funerals for potential violence, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. He didn’t know if any specific alerts were sent to officers before Vantrease’s funeral.