2 teens shot, 1 fatally, as ‘large group’ floods the South Loop

Video frames show Chicago police officers making an arrest and dozens of people gathered in a credit union parking lot during a “large group” incident in the South Loop on March 2, 2024. (Chicago Critter)

CHICAGO — Two teenagers were shot, one fatally, when a large gathering of mostly teenagers in the South Loop turned violent on Saturday evening, Chicago police said. Dozens of arrests were made as the crowd, drawn to the area by social media posts, overwhelmed community outreach workers and Chicago cops.

Hundreds of people converged in the area of Roosevelt and Canal after 7 p.m., and police officers were already arresting people within the hour. But the event soon turned violent.

Part of the group was gathered in the parking lot of BMO Harris Bank, 522 West Roosevelt, when at least one gunman fired shots at 8:06 p.m., according to a CPD media statement and witnesses. Officers, already in the area, immediately called out shots fired on the radio and responded to the scene. They began lifesaving efforts, detained the gunman, and recovered a firearm, police said.

A 17-year-old boy who suffered gunshot wounds to his chest and neck was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital, police said. A 15-year-old boy was listed in fair condition at Stroger with a gunshot wound to his left leg.

“Anybody that’s on the street, they’re going to jail,” David Harris, commander of CPD’s Central (1st) District, announced on the radio. “We’re going to do a mass arrest. All these kids are going to jail.”

The exact number of arrests made was not yet available, but a source who was at the scene said “dozens” of people, mostly juveniles, were taken into custody.

Here’s what the first few minutes of police radio traffic sounded like, beginning with an officer announcing “loud reports” in the area:

Source: Broadcastify

A video showing part of the gathering was quickly posted to the Chicago Critter account on Twitter. The footage shows dozens of people gathered in the Verve Credit Union parking lot across the street from where the shooting occurred. Officers are seen arresting at least two people in the clip. Note that the following video includes NSFW language:

Of those taken into custody, misdemeanor charges were filed against twelve people: eight juveniles and one adult, according to a Chicago police spokesperson. Three more juveniles were cited for curfew violations.

The adult, 18-year-old Sybrina Collins, was charged with misdemeanor resisting, the spokesperson said. Accused of misdemeanor disorderly conduct were boys ages 14, 16, and 17 and girls ages 16 and 17. The oldest boy was also charged with misdemeanor assault, as was a second 17-year-old boy. Two girls, ages 16 and 17, were charged with reckless conduct.

Saturday’s gathering was the first major “large group” incident in the downtown area since July 30, when up to 400 young people gathered in the same area and looted stores. Cops arrested 40 people—only three of whom were adults—and seized three firearms.

Mayor Brandon Johnson criticized a reporter who referred to the incident as “mob action,” a legal term in Illinois that relates to unlawful assembly and two or more people assembling to commit an unlawful act.

Johnson, apparently unaware that mob action is a crime, seemed to think the reporter was comparing participants in the gathering to the Mafia.

“This is not to obfuscate what has taken place, but we have to be careful when we use language to describe certain behavior,” Johnson said. “There’s history in this city. To refer to children as ‘baby Al Capones’ is not appropriate.”

Other “large groups” gathered during the summer, with incidents at 31st Street Beach and near the Belmont CTA station in Lakeview being among the most notable.

A string of social media “trends” on April 13, April 14, and April 15 last year culminated with two teenagers being shot during the third gathering. Johnson, then a candidate for mayor, called the incidents “unacceptable” while also scolding the public for “demonizing” the people involved in the unrest.

This story was updated at 11:26 a.m. with arrest details.

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About Tim Hecke 252 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com