CHICAGO - Chaos broke out in the North Lawndale neighborhood Wednesday night, where just after 6 p.m. ten people were shot, one fatally, in two mass shootings that happened within five minutes of one another.
At least three of the victims were teenagers.
The first shooting happened at 13th and Christiana at 6:05 p.m., where five people were shot. The second shooting happened five minutes later at Douglas Boulevard and Ridgeway Avenue, which is right where Theodore Herzl Elementary School sits. Five more people were shot there.
A car also ended up on its side steps away from the school.
A 14-year-old boy, identified as Damarion L. Benson, was shot in the head and was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said. He lived about 2 1⁄2 miles away on the Near West Side.
Among those shot were:
- A 16-year-old boy shot in the head
- A 18-year-old shot in the upper body
- A 15-year-old boy shot in the leg
- A 17-year-old boy grazed on the back
- A 14-year-old boy shot in the arm
- A 22-year-old shot in the foot
- A 24-year-old shot in the leg
Police Supt. David Brown complained Thursday morning that many of the victims were not cooperating with investigators.
"That signals to us that, ‘We want revenge. We don’t want police solving this case,‘" he told reporters at a news conference. "It’s not an exaggeration to say we are in a battle for the heart and soul of some of these communities as it relates to violence."
Chicago Police are calling on residents of this neighborhood to step up and help them track down those responsible.
"I tell you, this is becoming an effort where we're going to need an all-hands on deck approach." said Area 4 Police Chief Ernest Cato. "And that approach is going to involve our community. Our community getting involved and saying what's going on. Our community who has cell phone pictures, Facebook information, we're going to need your help."
Police were not able to provide details on the victims' conditions.
In addition, police are not able to say yet how or if the two shootings were connected.
"Unfortunately, we're seeing this not only in our city, we're seeing this in our country, mass shootings," said Cato. "If you're asking my feelings? I'm not happy about it at all. I think all of us should be sad about what's going on in our country and in our city."
Rashorna Fitzpatrick, executive pastor of the Stone Temple Missionary Baptist Church, said she was putting plants in planters in a nearby community peace garden when she heard gunshots. Then she saw people running and shooting each other.
"It kind of reminded me of some of the westerns (movies) that my dad watched," said Fitzpatrick, who said there was rapid shooting for 30 to 60 seconds.
"I’m heartbroken," Fitzpatrick said. "I really wish that the community would come together and operate from a place of peace. That they would establish some type of faith, some type of order in the homes with their family members and have conversations, particularly around peace, and also around, just being community, to just come in and be one."
Fitzpatrick stood by a group of four other local pastors as police put white markers by shell casings on the street and sidewalk surrounding Herzl Public School.
Fitzpatrick said her church hosts "Wellness Sundays" on the boulevard, where they invite community members to socialize and partake in various activities, like face painting and tight-rope walking on the grassy median.
"It’s really been working so that’s why this is really shocking to me," Fitzpatrick said. "It’s heartbreaking and shocking because we had gotten to a place where we were really experiencing some peace."
At least 34 other shootings this year have wounded four or more people, according to a Sun-Times analysis of city data. Over the last five years, Chicago has recorded the most mass shootings in the nation by far, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.