chicago expressway shootings

Chicago Expressway Shootings More Than Double in 2021 Compared to This Time Last Year

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The Chicago area has seen more than 150 expressway shootings so far this year, authorities say - already higher than the total number of expressway shootings that occurred in all of 2020 and more than double the number seen by this time last year.

All lanes of the inbound Eisenhower Expressway were shut down at California Avenue Monday afternoon as police investigated reports of yet another shooting, according to the Illinois State Police.

Prior to that incident, the Chicago area had seen a total of 158 reported expressway shootings so far in 2021, per ISP.

The latest shooting, followed by a crash, occurred at around 2:34 a.m. Sunday on the Eisenhower Expressway near Kostner Avenue, according to police. A 29-year-old male driver was shot and taken to an area hospital where he later died and one of his two passengers was killed in the crash, officials said.

That marked the 158th shooting on a Chicago-area expressway since the beginning of the year. That figure has already surpassed the 128 total expressway shootings that the Chicago area saw in all of 2020 and is more than double the 71 expressway shootings the region saw by this date last year.

The total of 158 shootings by Aug. 23 - the 235th day of the year - means that on average, there's been an expressway shooting roughly every 36 hours across the Chicago area.

The Dan Ryan Expressway remains the most dangerous with 51 shootings this year, compared to 26 in 2020.

One of those shootings claimed the life of Denise Huguelet, a special education teacher from suburban Orland Park who was fatally shot at around 10 p.m. on Aug. 17 as she traveled home from a White Sox game on I-94 near 63rd Street.

I-290, the Eisenhower Expressway, has seen the second-highest number of expressway shootings so far this year at 35, after 25 last year, while the Bishop Ford has had 25 shootings this year, compared to 18 in 2020.

In comparison, Los Angeles County - with more than 10 million people - has seen 90 expressway shootings so far this year, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Bay Area, including San Francisco and San Jose, has seen 116 so far and the San Diego area has had a total of 27, officials said.

When asked about the shootings at an unrelated news conference Monday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for county officials to do more through the court system and jails to stem what she labeled as gang violence.

"Well, I think we've got to do more in partnership with the State Police," Lightfoot said. "These are not random shootings - they are shootings being played out by dangerous gang members."

"As you know, I don't control the courts or the jails, but we've got to continue to work in partnership with the county to make sure that really dangerous people are kept off the streets and that they're held accountable," she added.

On Friday, ISP began installing license plate reading cameras on Chicago-area expressways, funded by a $12.5 million grant announced earlier this year.

The cameras - more than 200 to be installed over the next year - include a communication system to send images to a central location where additional software can be used to search and match license plates within existing databases, officials said.

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