CHICAGO (CBS) – Police said they have “good evidence” on a shooting in Uptown that left five people wounded, but disputed the local alderman’s report that three people were in custody for the attack.
Five people were shot outside a church at Wilson Avenue and Sheridan Road on Monday. Police initially said one of the victims died, but later said he was in “extremely critical condition” at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. The 21-year-old man had been shot in the head.
A spokeswoman for Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said Tuesday that police had three people in custody for the shooting, but Police News Affairs Officer Daniel O’Brien refuted that. He denied anyone was in custody, and said there is “misinformation out there” about the investigation.
Earlier Tuesday, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said the investigation was still in the preliminary stages, but he expected detectives would solve the case.
“We’re looking at a couple of different angles. We know who the players are, as far as which groups are in conflict. We’ve been able to connect the dots on a couple of incidents that have happened across the city,” McCarthy said. “It’s all very preliminary at this point, but we do have leads on it.”
The superintendent said detectives have “good evidence” from the scene, including witness accounts.
“We expect to be able to solve this crime,” he said.
McCarthy said it appears an assault rifle was used in the shooting. He said investigators found .223 rifle casings at the scene, but have yet to recover a weapon. The same type of ammunition is used in military-style AR-15 assault rifles.
“It’s ironic how things kind of come together. You’ve heard me talk about assault weapons. It looks like there was an assault weapon used in that shooting,” McCarthy said. “These are not things that belong in an urban setting. There’s no reason for them in a free society. That’s a military grade weapon that was created to kill people during combat.”
Around 6 p.m. Monday, five people were shot near a bus stop in front of the Uptown Baptist Church, at Wilson and Sheridan.
That corner is located along the “Safe Passage” route for students attending Joseph Brennemann Elementary School, which is receiving students who attended Graeme Stewart Elementary School, which was one of 49 elementary schools shut down by the Chicago Public Schools this summer.
Uptown Baptist Church Pastor Michael Allen said he heard the shooting was the result of one gang placing a hit on a rival gang member.
“He happened to be standing where a group of others were standing, and so folks were caught in the melee,” Allen said. “That’s just tragic.”
Witnesses said a white 4-door car pulled up in front of the church, and someone inside opened fire.
Allen said the church was hosting a prayer service at the time, and giving out meals to more than 100 homeless people.
“We heard the barrage of shots outside. There must have been at least 15 to 20 shots fired, and then after that, I went out to find out what was going on, and just saw carnage at the base of the church steps,” he said.
Allen said two or three of the victims apparently had just left the church right before the shooting.
Police were reviewing video from a blue light surveillance camera near the scene.