Reporting Bob Roberts
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CHICAGO (CBS) — One man died and five others were wounded when two gunmen sprayed a convenience store with bullets Thursday evening in the south side Auburn-Gresham neighborhood.
The shooting occurred about 6 p.m. in a store on the 1400 block of West 79th Street. Father Michael Pfleger, of nearby St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church, said the business has been a “problem” site for years.
“That is a store that has been closed and reopened, closed and reopened, and we’ve been trying to get it closed forever,” he said. “It’s a problem store and it’s a hangout store – a gang hangout store.”
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Pfleger said he would press for the city and Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. to work with him to revoke its license.
It was another minister, Pastor Londale McNeal, who heard the gunfire, saw the getaway vehicle and dialed 911 as he ran to the store.
McNeal’s Greater Works Outreach Ministry is next door to the convenience store. He said he had just pulled away in the car, and hadn’t made it a block away to Loomis Street when he heard 10 to 12 gunshots ring out.
He said he turned around, saw two men in hoodies run to a waiting gray Chevrolet and saw it speed down a nearby side street. Inside, he said, he found a terrible scene.
“Several of them were on the floor. The others were scattered and trying to get out of the store because they’d been shot,” McNeal said.
Victims ranged in age from 16 to 25, authorities said.
Pfleger said there was nothing accidental about the shooting and called it “genocide.”
“This is crazy. This is like a Third World country. There probably wasn’t six people shot in Afghanistan today,” he said.
Pfleger and McNeal say gang activity in and around the store prompted Chicago police to install a camera atop a light pole directly across the street. Both said they hoped the camera was working.
Pfleger also urged witnesses to come forward to him, so that he could relay the information to police.
“It’s six o’clock in the day. People saw it,” he said.
Four of those wounded were transported in critical condition to either Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn or Stroger Cook County Hospital. The fifth victim was taken in good condition to Holy Cross Hospital.