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After West Rogers Park Firehouse Is Left Riddled With Bullets, Neighbors Say Parties Outside Nearby Strip Mall Have Been Causing Problems

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A firehouse in West Rogers Park was left riddled with bullet holes in a big shooting over the weekend.

As CBS 2's Vi Nguyen reported Monday, neighbors said they have seen the trouble for months, and now they say enough is enough.

The Engine Company 71 firehouse at 6239 N. California Ave. is right across the street from the West Ridge Plaza strip mall. Neighbors said the parking lot for the shopping plaza turns into party central late at night with people drinking and playing loud music – especially on the weekends.

"Ever since we moved here, we noticed that there's been like parties at this plaza like every like Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, every, like since we moved here," said neighbor Nayeli Collazo.

Collazo and her family are fed up with what is happening in the shopping plaza on the west side of California Avenue near Rosemont Avenue.

"It stays packed from like 8 until the like the next morning - sometimes 2 in the morning," Collazo said. "You look outside, they're still partying. It's like, what's going on there?"

The plaza is made up of restaurants, a karaoke bar, a nail salon, and a home health care agency. Collazo believes some of the businesses there may be operating after hours and attracting large crowds.

"One time I looked out the window and there's like people chilling, smoking on top of my car," she said.

It was early Sunday morning when police responded to a call for shots fired. CBS 2 has learned a large crowd was gathered in the strip mall parking lot when a quarrel broke out and someone started shooting.

Police said a 27-year-old woman driving through the crime scene at the time suffered a graze wound to the head. She drove herself a nearby hospital.

The sidewalk was lined with shell casings at 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

"You could hear, actually, there was like gunshots from over here and over here, and you could tell they were shooting towards each other - it was like right there," Collazo said.

One of the bullets hit Collazo's car parked on the side of the street, and at least 10 other bullets went through the Engine Company 71 firehouse during a shift change. None of the firefighters were hurt.

"They ran to the back of the firehouse to take cover," said Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th). "It was very scary for them.

The shooting happened in Silverstein's ward. She said she was not aware of the problems with the large crowds until now.

A photo shows the parking lot packed with cars at 2 a.m. Monday.

West Rogers Park Strip Mall 2 a.m.
(Supplied to CBS 2)

The alderman said she is working with police and the city to track down the business that is causing the problems.

"We're going to do whatever we can to make sure that these large gatherings don't happen ever again here," Silverstein said.

The manager of the plaza told Nguyen by phone that he is still working to get to the bottom of the incident with police. He said he cannot connect the incident or the issues to one specific business in the plaza.

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