Chicago police have released surveillance video of a suspect fleeing the scene of Tuesday’s shooting at North Avenue Beach. Officers arrested another suspect shortly after the shooting, but police are still looking for the second man, who, according to CPD Supt. David Brown, threw a fanny pack that contained a handgun as he ran from the police.
Meanwhile, Lincon Park Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) on Wednesday called for the city to deploy “metal detectors or metal detecting wands at all entrances” to the nearly mile-long beach and for prosecutors to charge people who promote beach parties under anti-rioting laws.
In a press conference, Brown said a social media flyer attracted some people to the beach and the day was “very peaceful initially.”
But police confiscated their first gun of the evening shortly after 5 p.m. at a bag screening checkpoint. A half-hour later, a second gun was found during a screening. Officers arrested both men, Brown said.
Then, at 9:47 p.m., officers heard screams as two women began fighting. Moments later, the cops saw a muzzle flash and heard shots, which left a 19-year-old man in critical condition, Brown continued.
Police chased two men and arrested one of them. Brown said he remained in custody at midday, without specifying what police were trying to charge him with. The second man, whom Brown said tossed a fanny pack that contained a handgun with an extended ammunition magazine, got away.
This video, released by CPD on Wednesday evening, shows the man running north on the lakefront trail and tossing an object over a fence:
Anyone with information about the suspect can call Area Three detectives at 312-744-8261 regarding case #JF-289151.
Brown said three juveniles, a 15-year-old boy and a boy and girl who are both 16, were arrested during street fights in the nearby Old Town neighborhood as beachgoers made their way inland after the shooting. Three police officers received minor injuries during the brawls, which were centered near the intersection of North Avenue and Wells Street.
Brown blamed “personal conflicts being resolved with gunplay” for recent high-profile shootings like Tuesdays and an earlier shooting near The Bean in Millennium Park.
He once again claimed that lax prosecution is a missing link as Chicago tries to get a handle on violence.
“The consequences when we make arrests to those offenders in our courts by our judges is — the officers are doing their job — [but] the consequences haven’t caught up with the work Chicago police officers are doing.”
“The least the courts can do, the judges can do, is hold people accountable that are in custody to the fullest extent of the law,” Brown continued. “That’s what needs to be different.”
‘Similar to inciting a riot’
Meanwhile, Smith, the local alderman, called on the city to install metal detectors or deploy metal detecting wands to secure North Avenue Beach. And she urged prosecutors to bring charges against beach party promoters under anti-rioting laws.
“Police are seeking support from the State’s Attorney to pursue charges against the person who initiated the social media post that drew the people to the beach,” Smith wrote in an email to constituents on Wednesday night.
While penalties for inviting people to lawfully assemble may seem like a stretch, Smith said inviting people to the beach “is similar to inciting a riot, and can be prohibited … as inciting ‘imminent lawless action.'”
Under the heading “Our Demands,” Smith’s email also included a checklist of changes that she wants to see:
- A tightened perimeter around North Avenue Beach
- Private security to supplement Chicago police at entrances to the beach
- Metal detectors or metal detecting wands at all entrances
- Maintenance of the promised manpower at the beach as long as necessary
- A designated rideshare area for pickup with better organization of people leaving the park
We asked Smith’s chief of staff how police could reasonably operate checkpoints to secure the beach when thousands of people run, bike, and walk through the area every day around the clock. He did not reply.
Smith’s attitude toward the large groups has taken a sharp and sudden turn. During a community meeting that followed a “large group” incident at North Avenue Beach last month, Smith told audience members that the crowds that flooded Old Town streets after cops closed the beach were simply kids having fun. The audience booed her.
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