CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Chicago police are gearing up for the Memorial Day weekend by asking officers to work on their day off. The holiday weekend is notoriously violent, with 12 people killed and another 41 wounded in shootings across the city last year.
On Wednesday afternoon, an off duty officer in the Walgreens Parking lot at 67th and Stony Island found himself pressed into duty.
Chicago Police said at about 1:30 pm, someone fired shots into a crowd of people in the parking lot, sending them scrambling for their lives. The off duty officer pulled out his gun and fired at the offender, who took off in a blue van.
“I heard about seven shots go out, immediately I called the police and let them know that they were out here shooting,” said Ronnetta Guy, who lives nearby.
She said the van kept circling the block looking for the intended target or targets, who were caught in a cat and mouse game.
“I seen a group of boys running back-and-forth, running up and down the street yelling ‘here they come in this way, here they come, they're coming the other way,’” Guy said.
It's this kind of senseless violence that will have Superintendent Eddie Johnson and First Deputy John Escalante out on patrol this weekend. And a memo has been sent to the rank and file asking them to work on their day off. Extra bike and foot patrols will be out in parks and more patrols will also be out in the neighborhoods.
“If you have more police around, maybe it'll quiet some of this nonsense down because it's really ridiculous you know, people are scared to go out of their doors,” said Mary Brown, who lives near the Walgreens.
Her concerns are exactly how the Walgreens shootout made Ronnetta Guy feel this afternoon.
“I can't step outside, I step outside, bullets don't have a name on them, so I step outside even though I'm not the intended target, I may possibly get shot,” she said.
The question is, will the additional patrols this weekend actually keep the shootings down?
“I don't know how much difference it'll make, maybe people won't be as scared to come out and do and have fun and enjoy themselves. I'm not sure but how it is now, it's totally ridiculous,” Brown said.
The Walgreens shooter remained at large Wednesday night, but fortunately in the hail of bullets, no one was shot.