Business Owner Says Gangs, Race Are Motivating Violence In AreaBy CBS 2 Chicago Staff

By Steven Graves, Mary Chappell, and Meredith Barack

CHICAGO (CBS) — A woman was killed and five others were wounded in a mass shooting in West Pullman Saturday night, police said.

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As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported Sunday night, one of the wounded victims was an off-duty firefighter who was shot in the face and seriously hurt. He was celebrating a family member’s birthday when the bullets flew.

The firefighter – Timothy Eiland, 32 – was showing signs of recovery at the University of Chicago Medical Center Tuesday night. But his family was puzzled as to why it all happened.

However, people who do business in the area think they have an idea.

The shooting happened at a birthday party that turned into horror.

“I can’t get it out of my mind,” said Elishama Wright, who watched her brother got shot in the face. “Him being on the ground and just blood gushing out of his face.”

Wright’s 15-year-old daughter watched another woman die – only later to realize she was also shot in the arm.

“I saw blood all over her, and she said she had been shot, and she fainted, collapsed in my arms,” Wright said.

Wright says the party was wrapping when the shooting happened. Police said a group of people were outside heading to their vehicles at about 9:39 p.m. Saturday in the 300 block of East Kensington Avenue, near Prairie Avenue, when a person inside a vehicle fired multiple rounds.

“No idea what or why they did what they did,” Wright said.

A 42-year-old woman was shot twice in twice in the arm and once in the armpit and was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

In addition to Wright’s daughter, and Eiland, a 38-year-old man was shot in the abdomen and was in fair condition. Both are being treated at University of Chicago Medical Center. A 31-year-old man took himself to OSF Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Evergreen Park with graze wounds to his head and is in fair condition.

A 22-year-old man was also shot in the arm and leg and was taken to Roseland Community Hospital where he was listed in fair condition.

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Business owner Shamikia Gentry believes race is motivating violence in the area.

“They just don’t want anyone over here, nobody Black, and it’s sad,” she said.

Gentry feels like this was yet another tactic to target Black people and businesses.

She rented out the space for the party. Her business has only been there for months.

Last February, CBS 2 reported on car bombs that hit multiple people who live the eight-unit building at the site. The landlord – back then and still now – blames gangs and Black and Latino race tensions after a recent armed robbery.

“Robbing young men and asking what his gang affiliation was and some of the words being exchanged – like you guys are not welcome here,” said landlord Michael Taylor.

“When I say I’m literally kissing their ass to be their friend,” Gentry added. “It’s territory and that’s sad.”

Gentry says she will leave now.

“I really feel like it’s my fault, because this this is my business,” she said.

But Wright blames no one but the shooters. She is now hoping her brother, a city servant for the past two years, will pull through.

“My brother is like one of my babies. I used to change his Pampers,” Wright said. “It’s really hard, but I’m still trying to stand strong.”

All police will say is they continue to investigate all incidents.

No one in the neighborhood wanted to talk to us on camera.

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Wright’s daughter was back at home recovering late Sunday. No one was in custody.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff