Gunfire erupts at Chicago hot dog stand across from Little Village school
CHICAGO - Two people were shot and wounded Tuesday afternoon when gunfire erupted just steps away from a Little Village elementary school.
Just after 3 p.m., gunfire was exchanged near 23rd Place and Western Avenue, Chicago police said. The shooting unfolded in the parking lot of Donald’s Famous Hot Dogs, which is located across the street from Finkl Academy.
A spokeswoman with Chicago Public Schools confirmed the school was placed on a brief lockdown due to police activity in the vicinity. No students were injured. Still, the shooting left the school community shaken.
Little Village activists said the shooting stemmed from conflict between two area gangs. Witnesses said the gunfire came from a blue Honda.
A 17-year-old man was shot in the hand. Police said he transported himself to Mt. Sinai Hospital and is in stable condition.
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A 23-year-old man was shot in the leg, police said. He, too, transported himself to the hospital for treatment. He was listed in fair condition, according to police.
Tuesday afternoon, evidence markers were scattered across the hot dog stand's parking lot as police investigated.
Bullet holes could be seen in a nearby pickup truck while another car's window was shattered.
As police investigated the shooting scene – officers were also collecting evidence a few blocks away near 23rd Street and Seeley Avenue. There, they were photographing an SUV, which also had bullet holes. Police could not confirm if the two scenes were connected.
"We’re just amazed at how easy it is for them to get guns," said Baltazar Enriquez, Little Village Community Council president.
Enriquez said Tuesday's shooting is another reminder of what needs to change.
"We have generational trauma that we are dealing with. Our children are now normalized to death and this is not normal for any community," said Enriquez.
His organization has started offering mental health therapy to the community every Friday. It is also looking to expand into after-school and summer activities for youth.
"What we’re trying to do is change the mindsets of the children that it’s ok to talk to us," said Enriquez.
Learn more about the Little Village Community Council and its programs on the organization’s website.