14-year-old shot as ‘large group’ gathers nearby at 31st Street Beach

CHICAGO — The city once again struggled to control a large group of young people who gathered Friday evening at 31st Street Beach, a popular spot for social media-driven gatherings during warm weather.

Chicago police said a 14-year-old boy was shot in the immediate area, and officers arrested at least one person for illegal gun possession. A video on social media showed a car burning in the street.

Subscribers to the city’s “Notify Chicago” alert system were warned of “over 300 people” who arrived at 31st Street Beach at 7:38 p.m. A few minutes later, the city texted subscribers a “Critical Alert” regarding a “Public Assembly” at the beach.

A car burns near 31st Street Beach as a large group gathered near the lakefront on April 14, 2023 | @ChicagoCritter

An internal Chicago police message sent around the same time said “approximately 350 teens” were gathered at the beach, and a squad car window had been broken. Earlier in the evening, the department’s intelligence center warned of a “possible large teen gathering” at the beach based on social media activity.

CPD said a 14-year-old boy was shot in the left thigh in the 3100 block of South Lake Shore Drive around 8:49 p.m. Friday, but the department did not release any details about what happened or exactly where the shooting occurred. A Chicago police report reviewed by CWBChicago listed the shooting address as 3101 South Lake Shore Drive, which is the address of 31st Street Beach.

Adding to the chaotic scene, a car burst into flames near the beach as crowd was gathered nearby. Video tweeted by @ChicagoCritter showed flames pouring from the vehicle, a fire truck nearby, and a large contingent of police officers watching from a distance. A second video that surfaced late on Saturday shows exactly what happened to the car before it caught on fire:

On Wednesday evening, more than 100 young people spontaneously gathered in Millennium Park until a fight broke out, prompting police to break it up. No arrests were made, but a 16-year-old girl was treated for a head injury.

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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 news@cwbchicago.com