'Innocent' 311 operator gunned down near CPD headquarters

Image 1 of 2

A “completely innocent” city employee was killed by errant gunfire in a gang-related shooting two blocks away from the Chicago Police Departments’s Bronzeville headquarters Friday afternoon, just minutes after a press conference touting a major “gang takedown,” police said.

At 3:52 p.m., a 19-year-old man flagged down officers in the 3500 block of South State saying he had been shot, and they found 49-year-old Yvonne Nelson on a sidewalk nearby with a gunshot wound to the chest, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Nelson, of the 4900 block of South Vincennes, was taken to Stroger Hospital, where she died at 4:33 p.m., authorities said. She had been a communications operator for 311 City Services since 2002, according to a statement from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time. She will be deeply missed by her fellow staff at 311,” an OEMC statement said.

The man was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with gunshot wounds to the hand and buttocks. His condition stabilized, police said.

Police said the 19-year-old was a documented gang member and the target of the shooting. He worked at the Jimmy John’s restaurant a few doors down from the Starbucks where Nelson was found, franchise co-owner Diane Landry told the Chicago Sun-Times. She disputed CPD’s description and said he had been a good employee over three-plus years.

“He was a great guy. He never missed a shift, and he was always picking up shifts for other people,” she said, noting the store manager was at the hospital with the victim’s family.

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson walked two blocks from CPD headquarters at 35th Street and Michigan to the crime scene after a press conference announcing a sweep of arrests in a gang investigation.

“This incident right here highlights what I’ve been saying for the past month and a half about how brazen these violent offenders are,” Johnson said.

No one was in custody for the shooting Friday night.