Top cop offers explanation of mass shooting near Mag Mile — but CPD radio transmissions offer a different tale (audio)

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown gave the city’s first official version of Thursday night’s mass shooting near the intersection of Chicago and State. But many of Brown’s talking points don’t align with the local police district’s radio transmissions.

Brown also updated the victim count: a total of nine shot, two fatally.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown addresses the media after a mass shooting left 7 injured and 2 dead on the Near North Side, May 20, 2022. | Facebook

Brown told reporters during a Friday morning press conference that there was a disturbance between two groups on the 800 block of North State at 10:41 p.m.

“Our roving police patrols were in the area and observed this group … They see these two groups arguing. There’s different reports of whether or not there were fights in the crowd,” Brown said.

“Our officers wade their way into the crowd,” he continued. “We see on video where a person with a gun fires into the crowd.”

“As soon as this gunman fires, he then flees and our officers give chase” into the CTA Red Line station at Chicago Avenue.

Police arrested the gunman on the station platform and recovered his weapon, Brown said.

When a reporter later asked him to confirm that officers were at the scene, Brown backtracked and said police were “responding” to the disturbance.

But CPD radio traffic conflicts with both of Brown’s versions of events.

As CWBChicago reported this morning, police did respond to disturbances involving a group of young people near Chicago and State shortly before 10 p.m. — about 45 minutes before the mass shooting.

But no units were dispatched to a disturbance in progress at the time of the shooting, according to police radio audio.

There are also questions about Brown’s claim that officers had waded into the crowd before the gunman opened fire.

CPD radio transmissions show that the only cop who reported shots fired at the time of the mass shooting was an officer at the police station who was watching the feed from a police surveillance camera.

“Anybody over by Chicago and State?” the dispatcher asks, garnering no response.

One cop mentions that there’s a Jeep parked at Chicago and Wabash. His unit arrested two people with guns who were in that car the night before, he said, yet the vehicle was still sitting in the same spot. And there’s still no radio activity about anyone being at the shooting scene.

Finally, over a minute after the camera operator reported shots fired, an officer in the field makes the first request for EMS to respond to the shooting scene. Then, a burst of radio activity breaks out, with officers talking over each other as they began assessing the situation.

Here is audio from the local police district as archived by the website

In subsequent transmissions, the camera operator described the gunman to field units and even informed them when he changed clothes inside the CTA station. Brown said police also arrested a man who interfered with the gunman’s apprehension.

A woman who was with a group of bystanders that fled into the station was critically injured when she went on the Red Line tracks and contacted the electrified third rail, Brown continued.

Police are also working to identify a person who apparently gave the shooter the gun before he opened fire, according to Brown.

Shortly after noon on Friday, city inspectors forced the McDonald’s at 10 East Chicago to close until further notice.

“Been waiting so long for this [closure] to happen,” said a woman who has lived nearby for years.

After Brown’s press conference, CPD issued a written statement:

UPDATE: Two groups were involved in a disturbance at the above location. Approximately 30 minutes later the groups returned. The offender, an individual from one of the groups, then opened fire into the second group, striking nine (9) victims, including two fatally. The offender fled into the subway system, where he was located by responding officers and placed into custody at approximately 10:54 p.m. A weapon was also recovered. An individual who was in the shooter’s group was also arrested after obstructing officers at the scene. Charges are pending.

The following were transported to area hospitals:

Victim #1 – unidentified male, gunshot wound to the chest, pronounced at Northwestern
Victim #2 – 31-year-old male, gunshot wound to the back, pronounced at Stroger
Victim #3 – 19-year-old male, gunshot wound to the chest, critical condition at Northwestern
Victim #4 – 17-year-old male, multiple gunshot wounds to the body, stable condition at Stroger
Victim #5 – 46-year-old female, gunshot wound to the left leg, stable condition at IL Masonic

The following were walk-ins to Northwestern Hospital:

Victim #6 – 31-year-old male, gunshot wound to the hand, good condition
Victim #7 – 21-year-old male, gunshot wound to the lower leg, good condition
Victim #8 – 30-year-old male, graze wounds to the shoulder and stomach, good condition
Victim #9 – 29-year-old male, graze wound to the flank, good condition

Less than an hour before the mass shooting, two men shot each other during an argument just a few blocks away on the 400 block of West Locust, according to a separate CPD statement.

One victim from that shooting, a 29-year-old man, was reportedly found with a bullet-riddled car on the 100 block of South Sacramento in East Garfield Park. He suffered gunshot wounds to his right forearm and left ankle and was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital in good condition.

A second man, 32, walked into Northwestern Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. Police said the two men shot at each other during an argument.

“The daily excuses coming out of the Superintendent’s Office insult intelligence & are infuriating,” Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) tweeted Friday morning. “City Council needs to step-in & demand accountability. Their strategy is failing us miserably.”

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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