A 16-year-old boy was fatally shot Saturday night at Millennium Park and two men were later wounded in a separate attack after hundreds flooded the Loop, prompting Chicago police officers to close off streets and make mass arrests.
It was the latest in a string of chaotic springtime nights in the city as violent crime rises along with the temperatures.
Police said at least 30 people were taken into custody and multiple guns were recovered in connection to the “disturbances involving large crowds in the downtown area,” which came just three days after an unsanctioned North Avenue Beach “takeover” gave way to a similarly chaotic scene on the Near North Side that didn’t grow violent.
The situation on Saturday escalated about 7:30 p.m., when Seandell Holliday was shot in the chest in the 200 block of East Randolph Street near the iconic “Cloud Gate” statue more commonly known as “The Bean,” according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. The 16-year-old was rushed to Lurie Children’s Hospital and pronounced dead.
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Police said two people were taken into custody for questioning, and two weapons were recovered.
The shooting followed another attack on Tuesday evening, when a 19-year-old man was wounded by gunfire near “The Bean” as he rode in a car in the first block of North Michigan Avenue, police reported at the time.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot called Saturday’s fatal shooting near the tourist attraction in the heart of the Loop “utterly unacceptable.” She promised to take additional steps to address similar “lawlessness” as she offered condolences to the slain boy’s mother.
“Tonight, a mother is grief-stricken, mourning the loss of her child and searching for answers,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “My heart is breaking for the mother as she grieves this unspeakable loss.”
At the same time, she also urged “parents and guardians to step up, to ensure that your children understand basic values of respect, and that you take responsibility for knowing at all times where your children are and who they are with.”
Later Saturday, as officers attempted to disperse the large crowd moving through the downtown area, police said two men were wounded in a separate shooting in the 300 block of South State Street, less than a mile away from “The Bean.” They were among a group walking in the area around 11:40 p.m. when two people started shooting at them.
One of the men, thought to be between 18 and 20 years old, was struck in his neck and chest and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition, officials said. The other man, 18, was shot in the hand and taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition.
Two minors were taken for questioning, police said.
On Sunday morning, police released a preliminary statement reporting at least 26 minors and four adults had been arrested in relation to the disturbances downtown.
Five of the arrests were for gun-related violations, and seven firearms were recovered, police added. At least two officers were hurt.
Though Lightfoot noted that “[y]oung people are welcome everywhere in our city,” she stressed that “community norms require respect for each other, people’s property, and the sanctity of life.”
“We must also have zero tolerance for young people carrying firearms or settling petty disputes with acts of violence,” she said. “We all must condemn this behavior in the strongest terms possible and continue to take action against anyone who violates these basic community norms.”
Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th), a mayoral candidate and one of Lightfoot’s fiercest City Hall critics, said what’s currently playing out in Chicago is “beyond disheartening,” not “beyond repair.” He insisted the most pressing issue is inaction from Lightfoot and other leaders, not “the youth coming to downtown.”
“Their individual and collective silence gives permission for this behavior to continue,” Lopez wrote on Twitter Sunday. “We will only change Chicago’s trajectory if people have the courage to speak out.
“If the silent need encouragement, we have the resources to know where these youths come from, what communities they live in, which politicians represent them,” Lopez wrote. “This must be about creating & planting family- & values-building programs needed to end this generational cycle of chaos.”