CHICAGO — Starting last Thursday, in just under three days, gunmen left one man dead and four others injured in a string of shootings near a half-mile stretch of Broadway in Boystown and Lakeview East.
At the website HeyJackss.com, where researchers independently compile Chicago shooting and murder data, records show no other periods since at least 2014 with so many people shot in so few days across the Lakeview community area.
Chicago police have not publicly revealed any links between the latest shootings. But some neighbors wonder if nightly apartment rentals’ patrons contributed to the violence.
Short-term rentals are sometimes referred to generically as Airbnbs, but countless other companies provide similar services, matching apartment and condo owners with customers.
In fact, CWBChicago reported after the first shooting last Thursday that the victim was staying at a short-term rental unit in the 500 block of West Melrose. The 35-year-old Indiana man was sitting in his black Chevy Malibu on the block when someone walked up and started shooting, police said.
“Both the victim and perpetrator were not Chicago residents,” Ald. Bennett Lawson (44th) wrote in an email to his constituents on Friday morning.
Then, just after 2 a.m. Saturday, William Hair, 35, of Lincoln Park was shot in the chest and killed in the 500 block of West Surf as he walked with his best friend.
“Three blocks from his house, a car pulled up. Two people came out. There were two gunshots, one from each person,” his brother, Matthew, told NBC Chicago. “They did not ask for money. They did not ask for anything. They shot at him for no reason.”
Hair’s friend administered CPR until first responders arrived. But all efforts to save him failed.
Although the investigation was still young on Saturday, law enforcement sources said investigators suspected Hair was shot during a robbery attempt. One of the offenders walked away with a backpack taken from the scene, then dropped it a few yards away, said one.
Finally, around 12:27 a.m. Sunday, three people were injured when at least two gunmen began shooting in the 600 block of West Barry. One of the victims, a 32-year-old man, was simply walking down the street when a bullet struck him in the back. But the other two were being uncooperative with the police.
Investigators found a gun and shell casings in a parking lot next to a French cafe in the 3100 block of North Broadway. A 22-year-old man was found nearby with a gunshot wound to his leg.
Evidence technicians placed more than a dozen crime scene markers along Barry Avenue, most were set next to shell casings.
The third victim was found near a Mariano’s parking structure with two gunshot wounds to his chest. Not far away, in the 600 block of West Wellington, Chicago police found a firearm lying in the courtyard of an apartment building.
On Sunday morning, customers enjoyed brunch al fresco the Stella’s Diner patio, which had been draped in yellow and red crime scene tape just a few hours earlier. About 50 yards from the patio, evidence of the shooting was still easy to see.
An SUV’s passenger window was shattered, a gaping bullet hole created a void in the glass. Another bullet struck above the passenger door handle. Its front window sported another hole. And the car parked in front of it was hit, too. Another shot winged the top of the rear windshield wiper and pierced a clean hole in the glass.
Later Sunday, two people who live on the 600 block of Barry contacted CWBChicago, saying they believed people in their building were involved.
“The shooting happened right outside the apartment,” one woman said.
After the shooting, a small group of young men “came sprinting through the courtyard” into an apartment, “acting like it was a party.”
She believes the unit is rented nightly. So does the second resident we spoke with.
While hesitant to jump to conclusions, police officers we spoke with suspect there are links between at least two of the shootings.
“The good people of Lakeview didn’t suddenly take up arms against each other,” said one.