Back of the Yards residents on edge after police shooting

- For residents of the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side, Tuesday night's attack on the police is just the latest burst of violence to shake up the community.

"It's been so ridiculous. All these years that gang members be shooting all over the place,” Rose Gonzalez, a Back of the Yards resident, said

During dismissal time at Hamline Elementary in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, parents such as Monica Vargas were both wary and weary of gang violence and making sure their kids got home safe.

"I was born and raised here. It was a great neighborhood. And in the past few years it's gotten so bad,” Vargas said.

Tuesday banks//back of the yards resident: "A few times they've been shooting while the kids was in school, and they had to hold the kids in school."

Steps away from the school, a small army of police and city workers descended on the house where three police shooting suspects were taken into custody.

Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) took us past the shooting scene and talked about the war between two rival gangs that has been burning for years.

"This is a generational issue, like the Hatfields and McCoys,” Lopez said. “They've been fighting for so long, I don't think they even know why they don't like each other, but all they are doing now is continuing this blood sport."

Lopez said violence in the Back of the Yards was down for several months before Tuesday’s attack on police.

An influx of assault rifles, like the one used in last night's shooting, further complicate the problem, according to Lopez.

"I do know our gang members seem to have a fascination with these weapons,” Lopez said. “Obviously they like using weapons that can do the most amount of carnage in the quickest amount of time possible."

Back of the Yards resident Karen Miller, who lives down the block from the suspects' home in the 20th Ward, said all the abandoned and dangerous homes on the block make it a perfect breeding ground for gangs.

She said complaints to her alderman go unanswered, perhaps because her alderman, Willie Cochran, is facing a federal corruption indictment.
"He was voted in to do a job. And he should continue to do that job until proven guilty or innocent,” Miller said.

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