On New Year’s Eve, a 17-year-old girl became the Loop’s 28th and final shooting victim of 2021, wrapping up the bloodiest year for the famed downtown neighborhood in a generation or more.
Police said a man who is “approximately 18 years of age” shot the girl three times in her leg while they were in a hotel room on the 500 block of South Michigan around 10:29 p.m. Witnesses saw police and EMS responding to the Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 South Michigan.
The girl was listed in good condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Police arrested the man at the scene and reportedly recovered a firearm from his person. Charges are pending. CPD said the incident appears the man and the girl have a relationship.
Shootings have risen sharply in the downtown area since the start of 2020. Police and local politicians have consistently said that low hotel room rates during the COVID pandemic are drawing people to parties in hotel rooms and on nearby streets. Those gatherings are fueling the rise in violence, according to the officials.
In 2019, three people were shot in three separate incidents in the Loop: One survived a shooting that authorities determined to be self-defense by the shooter; another died in a separate self-defense case; and the third shooting, also fatal, remains unsolved.
In 2020, there were 18 shooting victims in the Loop and a total of four murders. City records show that two of the murder victims were shot, another was stabbed, and the fourth was pushed into the path of a CTA train.
Last year, there were 28 shooting victims in the Loop. One died. The neighborhood also had two fatal stabbings last year.