A savage shootout in the afternoon occurred on a crowded street in the shadow of downtown skyscrapers: “There was gunpowder in the air.

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In the shadow of half a dozen sparkling downtown skyscrapers is a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue that needs attention, but it avoids.

A square of plywood covers a window in the doorway of Richard’s Bar. Inside, a middle-aged man with a lit cigarette in his hand asks to be left alone.

To get service in the two-door courier business, you have to walk down a smelly alleyway to a scuffed metal door with no signs on it.

The two blocks of Milwaukee between Grand and Hubbard may seem overlooked, but for many it’s their way in and out of downtown. Steps away in Grand and Halsted, new condominiums and trendy bars are filling the intersection.

On Wednesday night, the street was crowded with people shopping, leaving their jobs or walking their dogs when gunmen hanging from the windows of a car savagely shot at another car.

“There were people diving and there was gunpowder in the air,” said Steven Caruso, the man behind the door to Advanced Messenger Service.

Crime scene tape rolled up on a fence near N Milwaukee and W Hubbard in the Fulton River District on Thursday, September 30, 2021.
Anthony Vazquez / Sun-Times

Five people were affected. One was riding a bike, another was in the back of a carpool. A man was shot in the back and taken to hospital in critical condition.

A West Town resident said he was driving with his wife on Milwaukee Avenue – minutes from their home – when the gunfire started.

“There is a park right there. It was such a beautiful day. I can’t tell you how many people were on the streets, ”he said. “The Starbucks patio was packed, there were literally 20 people crossing the street at Jewel.”

He was near the Metra railroad tracks when he heard a popping noise and turned to see a person with a gun hanging from the window of a car driving towards him.

“I said to my wife, ‘Get down, get down,” said the resident, who did not want to be named. “I needed my wife to survive to raise our daughter. It was the only thing that came to my mind. “

He heard the car pass and then saw someone open fire on a car stopped at the intersection. “He kept firing in the car – 20, 30 bullets – I could see the metal flying off. The only place I had ever seen this – in a movie.

The two cars sped away. The resident saw a biker who had been shot and called 9-1-1. Another pedestrian ran and took off his shirt to apply it as a tourniquet.

“I realized we were in a war zone for these two and a half blocks and very lucky to be alive,” he said.

Chicago Police are working at the scene where several people were shot near the intersection of Grand Avenue, Halsted Street and Milwaukee Avenue in the West Town neighborhood on Wednesday, September 29, 2021.

Chicago Police are working at the scene where several people were shot near the intersection of Grand Avenue, Halsted Street and Milwaukee Avenue in the West Town neighborhood on Wednesday, September 29, 2021.
Tyler LaRiviere / Sun-Times

The resident and others who frequent this stretch of Milwaukee said they rarely hear gunshots and the shooting was a shock.

People get a little rambunctious outside Emmit’s Bar on St. Patrick’s Day. And a few years ago, a man danced naked in front of a nearby Italian restaurant.

But police data shows shootings have increased this year.

There have been at least nine people shot this year in the passage of police covering the area where the shooting took place. There has been only one gunshot victim all last year, one death, one gunshot victim in 2019, none in 2018, one in 2017 and two in 2016.

Two gunshots were reported in the beat last week: a woman shot dead while sitting in a car and a man who showed up at his girlfriend’s home with gunshot wounds to his chest and chest. back.

Knotty pieces of police tape still floated on rusty lampposts along Milwaukee on Thursday. On the sidewalk under Metra’s tracks, a discarded latex glove lay a few feet from what appeared to be a pool of dried blood.

At Richards, the handful of bar patrons either did not see the shooting or preferred not to discuss it.

Then a customer, playing a video game, turned and barked, “Call the mayor! Ask him what happened. She has all the answers.


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