West Side Lawmaker Calls Eisenhower Expressway Shootings “Act Of Terrorism”

CHICAGO (CBS) — After two people were killed in separate shootings on the Eisenhower Expressway on Thursday, a Cook County lawmaker called the attacks an “act of terrorism.”

The first shooting happened around 5:30 a.m. in the westbound lanes of I-290 near Laramie Avenue.

Johnathon Ortiz and Alexis Garcia, both 22, were on their way to get something to eat when someone fired several shots into their Jeep Liberty. Ortiz was able to drive off the expressway and stop the SUV just past the Laramie exit ramp.

Police said Ortiz and Garcia were taken to Stroger Hospital, where Ortiz was pronounced dead. Garcia was listed in critical condition Thursday morning.

Less than seven hours later, shortly before noon, a man and woman were driving east on the Eisenhower Expressway near Central Avenue when someone shot at their vehicle. Police said the male passenger was wounded, and the woman drove him to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, where he was pronounced dead. The woman was not injured.

Illinois State Police said there have been 41 shootings on Chicago area expressways so far this year. There were 39 all of last year.

Thursday afternoon, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin said federal authorities need to get involved in the effort to reduce violent crime in Chicago. He called the expressway shootings “an act of terrorism.”

“I’m calling it exactly what it is. Many people in the community are being terrorized. They’re being terrorized by gang bangers. They’re being terrorized by narco-terrorism; people who are sending drugs in through Mexico, and dealing those drugs on the streets of Chicago,” he said. “I’m frustrated about it. I’m angry about it. We’ve got to do something about it, so I’m calling on Congress to reclassify the definition of terrorism to include gang activity, gang violence.”

Illinois State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago), whose district includes the stretch of the Eisenhower where the shootings occurred, said more state police are needed to patrol the expressway.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) said he doesn’t believe more police is the answer.

“We’re not going to be able to police our way out of the violence that we are experiencing,” Davis said.

No one was in custody for either of the shootings.

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