Chicago's Uptown neighborhood has been plagued by violence in recent weeks, and one alderman says gangs are to blame.
As CBS Chicago reports, at least 12 people were shot -- one fatally -- in the North Side neighborhood since Oct. 31. The majority of those shootings, however, happened in December.
On Friday, four men were reportedly standing on the street near Sheridan Road and Wilson Avenue when someone fired shots from a vehicle passing by, the Chicago Tribune reports. All four men were hospitalized in serious-to-critical condition. On Saturday, police spotted a van that matched the description of the vehicle involved in the shooting, as well as a shooting on the West Side that happened just hours later. When they attempted to pull the van over, the van "bolted," according to the Tribune. Police took four suspected gang members into custody after the van collided with a squad car. They are being questioned in both incidents.
The violence continued about 4:15 a.m. Sunday in the 4600 block of North Broadway Street, where a 34-year-old Chicago man was shot in the waist while driving, CBS Chicago reports. The man drove himself to a nearby hospital.
Uptown Update has been following the recent violence. They pointed out that the shooters suspected in Friday's shooting were members of the Black P-Stones street gang.
"Just like you, we at UU are so very sick and tired of this idiotic war that is being played out on our streets by young men who have weapons, but no impulse control; who have been taught to hate and kill people who wear different colors than they do; who are dying before they reach adulthood; and all for the supposed 'ownership' of land that will never be associated with their names in any public records," the blog's author wrote after Friday's shooting. "We are sick of what it is doing to Uptown's businesses, to Uptown's reputation, and to residents' sense of security and safety."
Ald. James Cappleman (46th) sent a letter to residents in the wake of Friday's shootings explaining that his office is working with police officers in the district to keep gang members out of Uptown.
"I will send a clear message to drug dealers that violence will not be tolerated and we will do everything possible to make it uncomfortable for them to live in this neighborhood if they are going to continue down their destructive path," Cappleman said. "In the meantime, I encourage everyone to participate in your area CAPS program."
Last Monday, thousands were affected by a standoff with police in Uptown that lasted six hours and stopped the CTA's Red and Purple line trains for hours during rush hour.
Police went to the apartment in the 4600 block of North Broadway Street to question four men about a murder in South Bend, Ind. when three of the alleged offenders barricaded themselves into the building. Police ultimately took the suspected gang members into custody and found guns and a bulletproof vest in the apartment.
As Uptown Update reports, the violence comes as Chicago Magazine sheds some light on connections between former 46th Ward Ald. Helen Shiller and powerful street gangs in the neighborhood:
... Alderman Shiller helped pay for a gang member's funeral out of her political campaign fund. The article makes a clear connection between keeping the gangs on her side and keeping her political power in the 46th ward.
The article also cites Denice Davis, Helen Shiller's former Chief of Staff, who would frequently intervene when the police were trying to arrest and/or charge gangbangers. Sadly, police officers got the message, and a retired officer indicated that arresting a gang member "brought trouble" from the 46th ward office.
Read more about former Ald. Shiller's alleged connections to North Side gang members here.
Photo by monica.reida via Flickr.
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