The trouble began brewing around 6:50PM when a 911 caller reported someone had been hit with a bottle in the 4500 block of Simonds Drive, near Montrose Harbor.
Ten minutes later, a 911 caller reported a fight involving 50 people in the same area.
Then, at 7:38PM, a 20th district police unit announced that a man with a gun was reported to be within a “big party” near Wilson and Simonds. From there, the situation spiraled out of control:
7:45PM – Unit 2004F: “They’re throwing things at us…Need more cars.”
7:46PM – Sergeant: “Get out of the park. Get all policemen out of the park NOW.”
7:46PM – Sergeant: “Leave the area where they are throwing bottles.”
7:47PM – Unit 1905: Vehicle has been damaged
7:48PM – Unit 2004F: “Get us some fucking help over here!”
7:49PM – Unit 1901: Pull units from other districts
7:49PM – “We got an officer hit with a bottle. He’s bleeding.”
7:50PM – Shut down all roads into lakefront from Foster to Montrose.
7:51PM – Estimate the size of the crowd. “It’s quite a few hundred people.”
7:51PM – They’re still throwing bottles at the police.
7:52PM – 19th District Tactical Lieutenant: “Put in [an emergency plan] and.. get us a helicopter.”
7:55PM – The 19th district does not have any [tear] gas. If it’s needed, the only gas team would be in [SWAT].
7:55PM – Respond to bait shop. We’ll stage there and go in as a large group.
7:56PM – 2 arrested at Wilson and Simonds.
7:58PM – 18th, 17th, and 16th districts will meet you at the bait shop.
7:59PM – Just so you know, the 20th district has a 10-1 [Officer needs help] at Jarvis and the lakefront right now, too.
Units from outside of the 19th district were sent back to their normal assignments at 9PM. The lakefront will remain closed all night by police order.
As of 9:15 Sunday night, more than 15 priority calls for police service in the 19th district had stacked up during the melee, waiting for officers to become available.
On Memorial Day weekend in 2011, police closed North Avenue Beach after crowds got out of control. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy at the time said the closure was due to “excessive heat.”