At least 20 shots were fired during an incident that left a man with a gunshot wound to his leg on the North Side overnight, Chicago police said. It happened around 12:59 a.m. in the 2800 block of North Leavitt in the Lathrop Homes neighborhood.
A 36-year-old man told police he hit two parked cars while driving and that someone started shooting at him when he got out to inspect the damage, according to a CPD spokesperson. EMS took him to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center with a gunshot wound to his leg.
The spokesperson said a 30-year-old man riding in the shooting victim’s SUV suffered a head injury, apparently received during the car crash. He was taken to Masonic in good condition.
Officers at the scene said shell casings were found along Leavitt and inside the victim’s car.
Court records show the shooting victim has a storied criminal background, with his most recent conviction resulting in a six-year sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The charge stemmed from an incident in which shots were exchanged with Chicago police officers. Prosecutors at the time said a passenger in the man’s car opened fire on cops, who returned fire, striking the passenger. The passenger is still incarcerated.
Two people have been shot in the North Center community area this year. That’s the same number of victims seen at this point in both 2021 and 2020, according to records maintained by CWBChicago.
On July 11, 2020, a 27-year-old man was shot and killed at virtually the same location as today’s shooting.
According to prosecutors, Jovante King drove to the 2800 block of North Leavitt with his brother and a friend to defuse a dice game dispute. When the group arrived, a man and a woman warned King to leave the area because he was in danger.
That’s when Saalik Berberena, 32, allegedly walked up to their car and put a gun to King’s head. King repeatedly pushed the gun away from his head and tried to calm the situation. But Berberena pulled the trigger, fatally shooting King in the head, according to prosecutors.
When King’s brother began to yell, “get up, bro,” Berberena allegedly replied, “he’s not getting up.”
The brother grabbed a gun in King’s car and got out of the vehicle. Berberena then began shooting toward the brother as he fled, prosecutors said. King died the next day.
Prosecutors said Berberena was arrested for another murder in 2007, but the state’s attorney’s office declined to pursue the case because witnesses refused to cooperate.
“A stupid dice game,” Cook County Judge John Lyke said after hearing the state’s allegations during a November 2020 bail hearing. “A stupid dice game. I know most people say, well, it’s not about the dice game, it’s about respect. That’s even more stupid.”
Berberena remains jailed while awaiting trial.