The south and west sides of Chicago were hit with a rash of shootings Thursday night, with 19 people hit and 13 wounded in seven separate incidents, including eight in one 30-minute period.
According to The Chicago Tribune, the eight people, many of them teenagers, were shot at 79th and Essex around 9:30 p.m. Tribune reporter Peter Nickeas said the shootings were all drive-bys, with the one at Essex definitely being gang-related; many of the victims were gang members.
Though non-fatal, the attacks underscore a recent study pointing to an increase in shootings in Chicago this year, including a 38 percent rise in homicides, with most of the violence happening on the South and West side of the city.
“We’ve got a gang issue, specific to parts of the city,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel told The New York Times after the study was released in June. “And we have a responsibility to bring a quality of life to those residents, and we are going to do it.”
WLS-TV reported that the area is known as a “north-south dividing line” for local gangs.
“Maybe if we had resources here in our community we wouldn’t be out here trying to rob people or kill people,” one resident told the station. “And it was a group get-together, come through shooting up the block.”
A police search for the shooter led them to a nearby motel, following a trail of blood to one room. But when SWAT teams arrived, they found the room was empty.
Five minutes before the shooting on Essex, two men were also wounded at an apartment complex on E. 37th Street, and around the same time, two more men suffered arm injuries in another drive-by, on W. 39th Place. Police reported another drive-by earlier in the evening, wounding four men in the Little Village neighborhood around 5:20 p.m.
Around 9:45 p.m., a 24-year-old man was shot in the leg on S. Jeffery Boulevard. He was released from the hospital Thursday night.
And two 17-year-old boys were shot in the early hours of Friday morning in two other incidents, one a drive-by on S. Vincennes Avenue that left the victim in serious condition at a local hospital; and an incident on W. Grenshaw Street where police said the shooter walked up to the victim and started shooting. This victim is reported to be in good condition.
WLS’ report on the shooting on Essex, aired Friday morning, can be seen below.