CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A single block on Chicago’s West Side has had ten people shot in recent days.
FOX 32’s Larry Yellen checked out the block Friday and found an alleged gang leader who explained what's behind the mayhem.
“The people that live on this block, is into it with nobody. They're not into it with nobody,” said Kevin Watson.
Over the last six days, ten people have been shot on the block of Leamington Avenue near Madison in the Austin neighborhood. Five of them were shot Thursday night.
Witnesses told FOX 32 the street sounded like a shooting gallery. Police blame it on a gang conflict, and Kevin Watson says police have accused him of being a gang leader in the area.
FOX 32: Which gang?
“The Mafia Insane Vicelords. I’m not no gang leader though,” Watson said.
Watson spent a dozen years in prison on a shooting charge. He was released four years ago, and now calls himself an elder on the block at age 31.
FOX 32: What's going on here?
“You gotta, it's a lot of different things. A lot of people coming from different places, and unfortunately, they happen to get seen over here,” Watson said.
Thursday night's shootings, he says, were probably due to gang members from a nearby neighborhood spilling onto the block on Leamington.
Some of the residents in Austin who declined to go on camera told FOX 32 they feel safe on the streets during daylight, but after dark, it's a different story.
Watson recalls his younger days when troublemakers stole bikes, instead of doing drive-by shootings.
“Nowadays you got Facebook and everybody want to argue, and everybody tough, everybody want to play with guns,” he said.
Watson says he's offered to help police manage the violence , but they haven’t' taken him up on it. He insists he's on their side.
“I’m not influencing anybody to go out and shoot nobody or fight or none of that, if there's anything going on, if I could do something about it, to prevent it or avoid it, that's the first thing I'm going to do,” Watson said.
There was a heavy police presence in the neighborhood Friday. A department spokesperson says organized crime units are working to disrupt the gang activity there.