CHICAGO (CBS) — The warm weekend brought a flood of people to downtown Chicago, but there was growing concern after at least two shootings damaged businesses – and a shootout also nearly killed a man.
CBS 2’s Steven Graves looked into crime numbers Sunday, and also talked to people who witnessed the shootings. One witness was a tourist who was feet from a shooting on Wabash Avenue near Wacker Drive as he watched from his hotel window, while the other saw the rush of a panicked nighttime crowd reacting to another incident.READ MORE: As Jury Deliberates In R. Kelly Sex Trafficking Case, What Impact Will Verdict Have On His Future Trials In Chicago?
This was during a time when businesses in the Loop are trying to make an economic comeback.
Police said a man of an unspecified age was near the Riverwalk at Wabash Avenue and Wacker Drive around 2 a.m. Sunday when he was shot in the back. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in serious condition.
The witness who was in his hotel said he saw the victim lying next to a light pole. Multiple shell casings were found at the scene.
“We could see it right from our room,” the witness said. “Consecutively, probably like 10 to 15 rounds.”
A bullet also hit a restaurant window at the Hotel Monaco, 225 N. Wabash Ave.
“It was one of those things where you don’t think it’s going to happen around you until it actually happens,” the witness said. “Last night was the first night I’ve ever been in Chicago, and it was like right below our hotel room. You could see it out the window, but we hit the deck and laid low.”
He added: “It’s a crazy world. It would be nice to have a little peace in our own backyards.”
Hours earlier around 10 p.m. Saturday, gunfire rang out on bustling Printers Row in the nearby South Loop.
Concern tonight in and around the #Chicago Loop after at least two overnight shootings.
— Steven Graves (@StevenGravesTV) June 6, 2021READ MORE: Cook County Circuit Court Website Back Online, After Weeks-Long Outage Caused By Breach
“I saw people running from patios, running inside,” another witness said. “I saw tables getting flipped over.”
That worker saw the chaos in the 700 block of South Dearborn Street after someone fired one shot, of many, toward a restaurant.
In the path of the bullet was a patio area where people were sitting. A nearby barrier just stopped it.
“It’s been so many months of people staying inside and you want to get outside and it’s not safe outside,” the worker said. “It’s just too bad. It hurts.”
These two shootings add to the 10 this year in the Central (1st) Police District, which includes the Loop, the West Loop Gate, the South Loop, and parts of the Near South Side. That is up from four shootings through this time last year.
Just last month, there was also a targeted shooting in a parking garage in River North, in the neighboring Near North (18th) District. Days later, a man was reported to be attacking women with a rifle in hand in the Loop.
Both of these incidents happened in board daylight – the morning hours.
“We’re coming out of a really, really struggling year,” said the worker who witnessed the Printers Row shooting. “Every customer is valuable to us”
This all comes as the Loop sees life inching into normalcy. Office spaces are filling up, and foot traffic is making a clear and apparent comeback.
“When something like this happens, you know, it just makes you wonder if we’re setting ourselves back,” the worker said.
Chicago Police assured Graves they have adequate patrols in place – both in the downtown area and around the city.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Cold Front Passes Soon
As of Sunday night, no one was in custody in either weekend downtown shooting. It was unclear if they were connected.