April 18, 2024

CHICAGO — Two teenagers were shot Saturday night as hundreds of people descended on the Loop, jumping on vehicles, getting into fights, and overwhelming Chicago police resources for the third consecutive night.

The victims, boys ages 16 and 17, were standing in the crowd on Washington Street near Michigan Avenue when someone fired shots at 9:05 p.m., according to a CPD statement. The younger boy was shot in the arm, and the other boy was shot in the left leg. Chicago Fire Department ambulances transported them to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in fair condition, CPD said.

Saturday’s crowd, which formed after invitations to attend circulated on social media, began to go out of control around 7:30 p.m. as police said about 200 young people were fighting and jumping on cars near the intersection of Washington and Wabash. Video shows another car being jumped on in the area around the same time:

Another video shared on Twitter includes a compilation of incidents from the area. People are seen climbing a CTA bus, fighting, and running through the streets after a loud “bang” is heard:

Around 8:50 p.m., officers radioed that they came upon two robbery victims who were attacked during the incident. The pair was transported to Insight Hospital for treatment. A CPD spokesperson said further details were not available on Sunday morning because the case report had not been finalized.

Chicago police made several arrests throughout the incident, but the exact number of people taken into custody is not known. According to CPD radio transmissions, officers were taking detained persons to the Wentworth (2nd) District because the local district’s station could not handle them. (Update: On Sunday afternoon, Chicago police said 9 adults and 6 juveniles were arrested.)

Fox32 announced that it pulled its news crews out of the area after they heard shots fired near the intersection of Michigan and Madison.

The station also reported that “a woman whose car was smashed by people jumping on the windshield said her husband was beaten as he sat in the driver’s seat. He’s been taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.” Chicago police officers escorted tourists and others to their cars in Millennium Park garage, the station said.

CTA limited stops in the Loop for Brown, Green, Pink, and Orange Line trains for about two hours late Saturday due to the incident. Regular service resumed shortly before midnight.

No public statements have been made about the incidents by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson, or the Chicago Police Department.

On Friday evening, a 14-year-old boy was shot as a social media-fueled crowd formed at 31st Street Beach. Hundreds of people traveled to the lakefront area, but the situation devolved as night fell.

Video tweeted by @ChicagoCritter showed Friday’s crowd jumping on a car in the traffic lanes of a nearby street before the vehicle caught on fire.

“Save the excuses & rationalization,” Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) tweeted Saturday morning. “Unless you want this to be the norm in Chicago, hold them & their parents accountable.”

But State Sen. Robert Peters (13th) fired back at Lopez: “The main thing about a certain politician tweeting obsessively about Black children on a Friday night is how lonely and sad that must be. Go see a movie. Have a nice dinner. Meet up with friends. But for the love of God stop being a weirdo every time it gets warm out here.”

“Just doom scrolling about Black children and snitch tagging media late at night seems unbearably depressing. Like it was a nice spring week and they’re expecting snow on Monday. Chill,” Peters advised.

On Thursday evening, more than 100 young people spontaneously gathered in Millennium Park until a fight broke out, prompting police to break it up. No arrests were made, but a 16-year-old girl was treated for a head injury.

Update 4:27 p.m. Sunday, April 16: Mayor Lightfoot and Mayor-elect Johnson released statements this afternoon. They follow in their entirety.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s statement

Twice in the last few days, several large groups of young people have gathered across the city. Many of them were there to have a good time and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather. However, some of those young people were involved in reckless, disrespectful and unlawful behavior. As I have said before, we as a city cannot and will not allow any of our public spaces to become a platform for criminal conduct. Most importantly, parents and guardians must know where their children are and be responsible for their actions. Instilling the important values of respect for people and property must begin at home.

I appreciate the individuals and business people who have reached out to me to express concerns. I have shared those concerns with the acting Superintendent and senior leadership within the Police Department in very candid and productive conversations.

CPD leadership has assured me that they will make the necessary adjustments to address these teen trends issues as we move into the summer months.

We have invested millions of dollars to support community-based organizations to partner with youth to co-activate fun, safe spaces all over the City throughout the year. We ask parents to partner with us by making sure that your children’s plans are safe and that they know when to exit a situation before it becomes unsafe.

Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson’s statement

In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend. It is unacceptable and has no place in our city. However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.

Our city must work together to create spaces for youth to gather safely and responsibly, under adult guidance and supervision, to ensure that every part of our city remains welcome for both residents and visitors. This is one aspect of my comprehensive approach to improve public safety and make Chicago livable for everyone.