2 fatal shootings within hours on same Chicago expressway

CHICAGO -- Illinois State Police are investigating two fatal shootings on a Chicago expressway within hours of each other.

The Thursday shootings are the latest example of growing violence on major thoroughfares in the Chicago metro area.

Police say both shootings occurred on the Eisenhower Expressway, or Interstate 290, a few miles west of downtown Chicago. The first happened around 5:30 a.m. in the westbound lanes and the second in the eastbound lanes a little more than six hours later and less than a mile away.

Police say in the first shooting, a man and a woman in a SUV were shot. The man was pronounced dead at a hospital and the woman was in critical condition.

Relatives identified the victims to CBS Chicago as Johnathon Ortiz and his girlfriend Alexis Garcia, both 22. Ortiz was an aspiring rapper who went by the name “John D.O.E.” and his girlfriend is an aspiring singer, family said.

The victim in the second shooting was also male. The man’s family identified him to CBS Chicago as Devon Almon. The station reports that Almon was a passenger in a vehicle and the driver, who wasn’t injured, drove him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The second shooting appeared to be gang-related and not connected to the first shooting, Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Jason Bradley told the Chicago Tribune.​​

Chicago is seeing a surge in the number of shootings and murders citywide,​ and Gov. Bruce Rauner told the station the violence is also spilling over onto area expressways.

Police say there have been seven shootings on I-290 alone this year. Illinois State police said these incidents bring the total number of shootings on Chicago area expressways to 41 this year, reports CBS Chicago. There were 39 expressway shootings in the Chicago area in all of 2015.