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Police Supt. Johnson: Overnight West Side Gun Violence Was 'Unacceptable And Disheartening'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Police on Sunday afternoon were exploring possible connections – and expressing outrage – after three early-morning shootings left at least one person dead and more than a dozen others wounded on the city's West Side.

"We experienced an unacceptable and disheartening level of gun violence on the West Side last night," police Supt. Eddie Johnson said at a news conference in Douglas Park.


Update On West Side Violence

LIVE NOW: Chicago Police provide an update after West Side shootings.

Posted by CBS Chicago on Sunday, August 4, 2019

The first shooting happened near Roosevelt Road and Francisco Avenue in Douglas Park around 1:20 a.m., police said.

Police said the victims were standing in the park when someone in black Camaro pulled up and started shooting.

A total of seven people were shot – four men and three women. The victims are between 19 and 25 years old.

Johnson said several of the victims returned fire, and multiple types of ballistics were found at the scene.

As CBS 2's Eric Cox reported, more than 75 shell casings were recovered were recovered at the scene, and at least five shooters were believed to be involved. Mount Sinai Hospital had to shut down their emergency room during the overwhelming chaos.

Stretchers were brought out, and others were treated on the scene.

At 2 a.m., two women were shot in the 1200 block of South Troy Street in the North Lawndale neighborhood, Johnson said. The women suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and police were working to find out more details about what happened.

At 3:30 a.m., a third shooting with multiple victims transpired at 18th Street and Keeler Avenue, Johnson said. Police said the scene was a block party.

Police said eight people were shot in that incident and one of them died at the scene.

CBS 2 talked to one of the victim's relatives outside the hospital. Keith Flowers said his 33-year-old son was killed.

He said his son had just gotten off work and went to hang out with some friends when someone pulled up in a car and shot them.

"Three cars pulled up and they just started shooting everybody," Flowers said.

Flowers said his son, Demetrius, was pronounced dead when police arrived.

"My family is hurting right now. We're grieving," Flowers said. "This is our second son we've lost to violence."

Diana Blizzard of North Lawndale woke up to bullet holes in her windshield. One of the back windows was shot out completely.

"I just found this out this morning," Blizzard said. "My son pointed it out to me."

Blizzard's daughter's car was also damaged during the gunfire.

"It's ridiculous. It's sad. I knew something like this was going to happen," she said.

Outside her home, the sidewalk was stained with blood hours after the incident. The gruesome sight was seen by young eyes.

"Go back that way," Blizzard told a child who inquired about the blood stains. "I don't want y'all looking at that."

Area Central detectives were still out on the latest shooting near 18th and Keeler as of late in the afternoon, Johnson said. He said some of the victims have been "quite honestly been less than forthcoming in cooperating with us."

Johnson said police were investigating whether there was a connection with a basketball game in the area earlier in the night. Police were present when it ended, but people came back and gunshots were fired, Johnson said.

Johnson said some of the incidents might have amounted to planned violence.

Between 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday morning, Ogden District officers recovered seven guns, Johnson said. But the police presence has not been a deterrence, he said.

"The point is that individuals are carrying guns to settle disputes and prey on rivals because there's no consequences to carrying guns in the city of Chicago," Johnson said. "For $1,000 and an ankle bracelet, you can walk out of jail after being arrested with military-grade assault weapons, complete with armor-piercing bullets."

Noting that he has been a Chicago Police officer for 31 years, Johnson said he has lived with and dealt with gun violence throughout his adult life. But he said he and Mayor Lori Lightfoot cannot be the only ones decrying violence and illegal gun use in Chicago.

At the news conference, Ogden District Capt. Gilberto Calderon echoed Johnson's statements.

"One act of violence is one too many," he said.

Along with the Area Central Gang Enforcement team, Ogden District officers have been deployed to specific hot spots in anticipation of possible retaliation, Calderon said.

Calderon said tactical units from his district made five arrests as they recovered the seven guns earlier in the night. But there were multiple large gatherings, and it was difficult to protect crime scenes – leaving police short-handed.

Calderon said the shootings in Lawndale overnight were all gang-related or narcotics-related, and none were isolated.

Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) reiterated that there has been far too much gun violence in the city of Chicago. He said officers from the Ogden and Harrison districts, which together comprise parts of his ward, are in the right places at the right times.

"Unfortunately, we have too many repeat gun offenders coming back onto our streets and doing the things that we don't want to have happen," Scott said. "In this park alone yesterday, we had seven events – we had an arts festival, we had a Movies in the Park, we had three Night out in the Park festivals, and they all went off without a hitch, from the park hours of 12 o'clock p.m. to about 10 o'clock p.m., and we had no incidents of violence. But as those hours creeped to midnight and to 1 o'clock, the individuals who did not leave this area – and we had saturation teams all across the ward – we had incidents that continued to crop up."

Scott focused on how community members need to report illegal firearms – letting police know if family members have illegal firearms, and if neighbors are dealing drugs.

He also called for "common sense gun laws" in Chicago and across the country.

Neighbors were likewise distraught.

"The war is right here in the city of Chicago and we have to stop this senseless killing," Flowers said.

"It's time for us to take a stand. It's over with," Blizzard added. "I'm going to the alderman's office in the morning and if we can't get any answers out of him, then I'm going to the mayor."

Citywide this weekend, at least four people have been killed and 41 more have been wounded.

Elsewhere on the West Side, a fatal shooting was reported early Saturday in the 4600 block of West Monroe Street. Three people were also shot in the 3300 block of West Monroe Street just before 5 a.m. Sunday, police said.

Three people were also shot in the 5600 block of West Potomac Avenue on Sunday afternoon, police said.

Shootings also occurred over the weekend in the 100 block of South Leamington Avenue, the 4000 block of West Adams Street, the 3900 block of West Congress Parkway, 1400 block of South St. Louis Avenue, the 1900 block of West 23rd Street, and the 3400 block of West Flournoy Street. One person was wounded in each of those shootings, police said.

On the South Side, one person was killed in the shooting in the 100 block of West 103rd Street, another on the 7300 block of South Stewart Avenue. Two people were wounded in a shooting in the 8000 block of South Stewart Avenue, police said.

Shootings the 2000 block of West 70th Place, the 6700 block of South Parnell Avenue, the 7700 block of South South Chicago Avenue, the 9100 block of South Baltimore Avenue, the 300 block of East 132nd Place, and the 12300 block of South Emerald Avenue, each left one person wounded, police said.

And around 5:45 p.m. Sunday, a 56-year-old man was killed and a 47-year-old man was wounded when someone walked up and fired shots at them in the 1900 block of West Garfield Boulevard in Back of the Yards, police said.

The older man was pronounced dead at the University of Chicago Medical Center, while the younger man was taken to the same hospital with a gunshot wound to the elbow, police said. The younger man's condition was reported to be stable late Sunday.

On the Far North Side, one person was wounded early Saturday while riding a bicycle in the 6900 block of North Ashland Boulevard in Rogers Park when someone fired shots from a white Ford Focus. That victim was hospitalized in a condition described as stable.

On the Northwest Side, one person was also shot in the 3700 block of West George Street on Friday night, police said.

Johnson also addressed mass shootings around the country this past weekend. In El Paso, Texas on Saturday, 20 people were killed and dozens were injured in a shooting near shopping mall.

U.S. Attorney John Bash said they will pursue a criminal investigation, a civil rights hate crime investigation and "domestic terrorism" charges against the suspect, who was identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius.

Officials have referenced a document allegedly left behind by Crusius, and said the shooting may have a "nexus" to a hate crime. The writer of the document denounces the increasing Hispanic population of Texas and gives that as a reason for his actions.

Early Sunday, nine people were killed and 27 others were injured in a shooting in Dayton, Ohio. A gunman wearing body armor opened fire in Dayton's Oregon District, a historic neighborhood home to bars, restaurants and theaters.

The gunman was identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts, of Bellbrook, Ohio. He was shot and killed by local police.

"You have to stop and ask yourself – what more will it take before we get a handle on what's going on, not just in Chicago, but across the country?" Johnson said. "From police departments to court systems, from prosecutors to legislators, we have to come together and figure out more common-sense solutions to these problems, because clearly, too many of our citizens are being shot and killed."

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CBS News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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