Top officer turns to shooting, fights at North Avenue Beach

A 19-year-old man was critically injured after being shot multiple times at a rally on North Avenue Beach Tuesday night, Chicago Police Inspector David Brown said at a news conference Wednesday morning. One person was remanded in custody after the large gathering of young people.

Around 9:50 p.m., officers heard screams because of two women fighting on the beach, Brown said. Moments later, officers saw a flash and heard shots being fired.

“It is not illegal to go to the beach if you are young. It is not. It never will be. But at the same time, we will hold you accountable if you break the law, regardless of your age, ”Brown said. “So what we have done, of course, is to add more layers of security measures, which include bag check, officer presence, very aggressive patrolling, very proactive policing around the beaches.”

The challenge for law enforcement is that the beaches are “porous,” and people can get to the beach around checkpoints, Brown said. There were also two gun arrests earlier in the day on the beach before the shooting took place.

Officers chased two men who began running away from the scene. One of these men threw a fannypack, which was found by the officers, and the officers found a Glock pistol with an extended magazine inside. The man who threw the fanny pack was able to escape arrest, authorities said.

The other man who ran was caught and charges were pending against him. The 19-year-old man who was shot was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital in critical condition, Brown said.

Lincoln Park Ald. Michele Smith said in a tweet Wednesday morning that North Avenue Beach “must be safe for everyone.”

“We will not tolerate guns on the beach,” she wrote. “Police must be allowed to use metal detectors or wands to check the situation.”

Around 4 p.m. Tuesday, small groups of young people began arriving at the beach, who are believed to have been promoted by a message posted on social media, Brown said.

“People on the beach, including the young people, were having fun. It was very peaceful to start at 4pm. There were also families on the beach and the volleyball court was full,” Brown said.

Officers had set up checkpoints on the beach and checked people’s bags. Just after 5pm, officers found a 9mm pistol from a fanny pack during a bag check.

Brian Wade, 20, was arrested and charged with a felony of unlawful use of a weapon, Brown said. He did not have a gun owner’s ID card, according to a police spokesman.

The beach continued to be peaceful until the shooting that injured the 19-year-old man broke out, Brown said.

Shortly after the shooting, officers began clearing the beach and groups of young people poured into the neighborhood, Brown said. At 9.50pm, a fight broke out in a crowd, which was from the beach, at North Avenue and Wells Street in the Old Town neighborhood. Several officers trying to control the crowd had non-life-threatening injuries.

Four people were arrested during the fight, police said. A 15-year-old boy was charged with one misdemeanor for reckless conduct and received a traffic report for obstruction of traffic by a non-motorist. A 16-year-old girl was charged with one misdemeanor for reckless behavior and charged with obstruction of traffic.

At the press conference, Brown also discussed a shooting that took place at a Red Line stop on the South Side on Tuesday. Around. 19.50 on the red line, in the 200 block of West 47th Street in the Bronzeville neighborhood, one person shot another before running off the station platform and escaping arrest. The shooting was captured on video.

The person who was shot was brought to the University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds, Brown said.

Kevin Ryan, vice president of security for the Chicago Transit Authority, said most attacks on the CTA are targeted and not random. There are 33,000 cameras to assist the police investigation by serving “as a silent witness.” The video of Tuesday’s shooting was given to the CPD within 90 minutes.

pfry@chicagotribune.com

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