Shots were again fired in Streeterville early Thursday, but the intended target was not injured, according to witnesses and a CPD report. It’s the third time this week that police have confirmed gunfire in the tony downtown neighborhood. One of the earlier incidents resulted in a man suffering three graze wounds to his head.
Around 1:19 a.m. today, witnesses reported that a gunman fired shots at another man on the 200 block of East Ontario and then ran into a nearby hotel with a group of people. Police found a shell casing at the scene. The man who was reportedly fired upon walked away from police and refused to cooperate with investigators, officers said.
On Tuesday night, a 22-year-old man was shot by an occupant of another car who yelled gang slogans at him while they were stopped for a red light on southbound Lake Shore Drive at Chicago Avenue. Three bullets grazed the victim’s head, police said. He was listed in fair condition after the shooting.
On Monday, police found four shell casings and a live bullet after shots were fired near Lake Shore Park on the 200 block of East Pearson around 1:43 a.m. That’s about a block from where Tuesday’s shooting occurred. No one was injured in that incident.
Large gatherings in hotels have been a source of violence around the downtown area since the COVID pandemic forced the businesses to lower room rates during a time of record-low occupancy. In fact, Streeterville’s first shooting of 2021 took place during a fight inside a hotel on the 100 block of East Superior on March 31. Another man was shot with a rifle inside a hotel room near State and Illinois on January 30.
Authorities went so far as to file public nuisance charges against the Eurostars Magnificent Mile Hotel, 660 North State, last month. Many of the city’s complaints against the hotel are minor violations like allowing people to smoke cannabis on the premises and failure to enforce social distancing in elevators. But other allegations are more serious.
For example, the city’s complaint lists 12 separate incidents involving firearms in the hotel or adjacent property since October 16. One event in March turned up six of those guns, the city claimed. Other allegations include a December 8 armed robbery on the premises and a criminal sexual assault in the hotel on February 18.
“Large gatherings, guests throwing bottles from balconies, lighting fires on balconies, and not enforcing proper safety protocols or other COVID-19 restrictions” were all reported at the hotel, Ald. Brendan Reilly said in an email to his constituents last month.
Plenty of other downtown hotels have had bad experiences over the past year. Among the more recent incidents:
- A suburban man was charged with firing a gun outside the West Loop Hampton Inn last weekend.
- Police arrested a man who allegedly fired shots near Wabash and Lake streets on March 19. That incident was reportedly linked to a party at the nearby Virgin Hotel.
- On February 28, a man was charged with a gun violation after he fired a weapon into the air to break up a fight outside the LondonHouse.
- A shoot-out at the Swissotel, 323 East Wacker, left a man injured on November 7.