Three shot, another beaten during “peace picnic” at Near North park

Seward Park stands in the shadows of the Magnificent Mile’s skyscrapers on land that was once home to Chicago’s infamous Cabrini-Green high-rise housing projects. | Google

Violence at a Near North Side “peace picnic” left three men shot and a fourth beaten Saturday evening in Seward Park, 325 West Division, police said. One “person of interest” was being questioned.

A witness reported that at least one man “stood in the middle of the park and started shooting” just before 6 p.m. Saturday. She described a chaotic scene that followed with dozens of people running in all directions from the park. Ten to twenty shots were fired, according to people at the scene.

Three people were struck by gunfire: a 54-year-old man who was shot in the right thigh; a 43-year-old man who was shot in the left leg and right arm; and a 28-year-old man who was shot in the back. All were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Police said the 28-year-old was in critical condition and the other two men had been stabilized.

A fourth victim, 23, was severely beaten near the park entrance during the incident. He was listed in fair condition at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Officially, police said “one to three male offenders” between 15- and 20-years-old began firing at the victims who were standing in a group at the park.

The suspects were seen running toward a nearby Jewel-Osco store with a primary suspect described as a black male wearing a white t-shirt, dark pants, and a black baseball hat. One man was taken into custody by an off-duty Cook County Sheriff nearby, according to an officer at the scene.

As the sun began setting, a police evidence technician was gathering .45 caliber shell casings in the park directly across from a Panera Bread restaurant. The conflicting visuals of chain eateries and violent crime illustrate the challenges of the neighborhood where strip malls and franchises are staking claims to land that was once home to Chicago’s infamous Cabrini-Green high-rise housing projects.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is