A 14-year-old boy and two other people were killed and 17 people were injured in four separate shootings in Chicago on Wednesday, police said.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown on Thursday said few of the people wounded in each shooting are cooperating with police and urged community members to come forward if they know anything.
Investigators believe the shooters in each incident were targeting specific victims, though some of those hurt were bystanders.
The first two shootings happened within minutes and blocks of each other in the city’s North Lawndale neighborhood after 6 p.m., Area 4 Deputy Police Chief Ernest Cato said during a news conference.
The 14-year-old was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital after being struck in the head in the first shooting, which left a 16-year-old in grave condition, according to police. The wounded teen was also shot in the head, Cato said. A 22-year-old man and two 24-year-old men injured in the shooting near the intersection of 13th Street and Christiana Avenue, were stable.
Multiple suspects then opened fire on a second scene, shooting four teens and a 22-year-old man near the intersection of Douglas Boulevard and Ridgeway Avenue. They were taken to hospitals, where they were listed in good condition, police said.
One of those teens, a 14-year-old, was hit by a stray bullet while getting into a car with his father, Deputy Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said.
“We’re going to need an all-hands-on-deck approach, and that approach is going to involve … our community getting involved, and saying what’s going on,” Cato said from the site of the second shooting. “Our community who has cellphone pictures, who has Facebook information. We’re going to need your help.”
Another shooting on the city’s Near West Side left two men dead. The men were standing outside in West Town when someone in a passing SUV fired shots at them. No one was immediately taken into custody.
Before midnight, a dark gray Jeep Grand Cherokee opened fire on a party bus in the 1600 block of North LaSalle Drive in the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, according to authorities. Eight people between the ages of 23 and 52 years old were wounded.
One of the victims was listed in critical condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was dropped off after being shot in the chest. Police described him as a 27-year-old man.
While a 24-year-old man shot in the arm and a 26-year-old woman shot in the leg had serious injuries, the remaining victims were in good or fair condition at area hospitals.
Deenihan said detectives believe the people on the bus were targeted but he didn’t provide any specifics.
He said the bus had pulled into a gas station to let people use the bathroom. Three cars pulled up and people inside began shooting toward the bus passengers headed into the building, he said.
Two of the people hurt were employees of the bus company, including a security guard. Another wounded person was sitting in a car at the gas station, Deenihan said.
No one is in custody in connection with the party bus shooting.
On Monday, the Chicago Police Department announced a new team of officers, prosecutors and federal agents that will target gun trafficking as part of anti-violence efforts. It followed another bloody weekend that ended with more than 60 people shot, including 10 fatally.
“Street justice is never ending,” Brown said Thursday. “The appetite for revenge is never satisfied. It only harms. It only ruins your community. And we need the community to step forward now. We are in a battle for the heart and soul of some of our communities and now is the time to speak up.”
While Chicago has seen fewer violent crimes like aggravated batteries, robberies and sexual assaults, homicides so far this year have risen 33 percent compared to the same time period in 2019.
Shootings have risen by 59 percent since the first half of 2019, the most recent comparable period since the pandemic began.
The Justice Department this week is launching an effort in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., to reduce surging gun violence by addressing illegal trafficking and prosecuting offenses that help put guns in the hands of criminals.
Attorney General Merrick Garland is expected to travel to Chicago, where he was raised, Thursday to kick off the initiative.