Tensions High in Wake of Gold Coast Crime

Police warn tourists and residents to be extra vigilant this holiday season

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Prosecutors say they have no explanation why a career criminal stabbed a suburban doctor in a Gold Coast hotel bathroom.

    Two violent incidents in two days in Chicago's upscale Gold Coast neighborhood prompted police on Monday to warn residents and tourists alike to be extra vigilant this holiday season.

    On Saturday night, a doctor was brutally stabbed and robbed in the men's room of the Westin Hotel after he and his family attended the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Not far from where the stabbing occurred, a shoplifting Sunday night led to a police-involved shooting.

    Both incidents have tensions running high in the neighborhood normally packed with shoppers. On Sunday, East Walton Street was packed with police after an officer opened fire on some shoplifters who tried to run him down with their car.

    Locals React to Mag Mile Stabbing

    [CHI] Locals React to Mag Mile Stabbing
    One day after a 67-year-old man was stabbed on Michigan Avenue, people walk the street as more information about the incident is released. Emily Florez reports for NBC News at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012.

    Police said an officer on patrol came across four suspects walking out of the American Apparel store with arms full of clothing. They got into a gray car and when the officer tried to stop the vehicle, the driver tried to run over the officer.

    A police union spokesman said the officer fired at the car as he feared for his life. The car swerved and the suspects got away. Police believe the suspects are two men and two women and that  they got away with a large amount of clothing.

    Hotel Westin Stabbing

    [CHI] Hotel Westin Stabbing
    Homeless man stabbed a man in the head in front of the Westin Hotel near the Mag Mile.

    Meanwhile a Chicago man faces an attempted murder charge in connection with the stabbing incident at the Westin. Jimmy Harris, 56, was charged with attempted first-degree murder, unlawful restraint and two counts of aggravated battery for allegedly attacking a 67-year-old Dr. Mir Shah.

    Some residents said they're shocked by the incidents and hope police can curb further violence/

    "Chicago police officers, you know, they're out there," said Rachel Franklin, who lives nearby. "The city's working on it. Hopefully everything will be OK. It's a very safe neighborhood normally."

    "People are not as used to seeing this around here, and I guess my thought is really that I would hope that any citizen of Chicago in any neighborhood would get this same attention," said Gold Coast resident Pamela Popeil.

    NBC 5 also has learned there is an apartment building on Schiller and Dearborn that sent a letter to residents warning them about some attempted robberies on the street and to avoid walking alone in the area if possible. 

    Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was out on Michigan Avenue Monday evening to check on the department's deployment. He said he had no safety concerns surrounding the area for the busy holiday shopping season.

    "Michigan Avenue is safer than it's been in 30 years and it absolutely will be safe," said McCarthy.