A man shot to death Sunday afternoon on the West Side became at least the 500th person to die in a homicide in Chicago in 2017, according to Tribune data.
In 2016, the city marked its 500th homicide in late August, according to Tribune data. So far in 2017, the number of homicides is down about 7 percent, from 538 during the same period in 2016.
The Tribune counts all homicides, including justifiable homicides, in its homicide data. The Chicago Police Department tallies only what are defined as murders for the purpose of reporting numbers to the FBI. As of midnight Saturday, Chicago police had recorded 486 murders in the city so far this year, versus 521 for the same period in 2016.
The 20-year-old man was shot about 4:30 p.m. in the 2400 block of South Western Avenue, according to a police media notification. The man suffered gunshot wounds to the neck, thigh and buttocks, and was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He has not yet been identified.
The man’s shooting marked at least 2,718 people shot in Chicago so far this year, a more than 11 percent decrease from the 3,066 shot as of the same day of the year in 2016, according to Tribune data. As of midnight Saturday, Chicago police had recorded 2,089 incidents in which at least one person suffered a gunshot wound, versus 2,486 in the same period last year, an almost 16 percent decline.
The man was in a car when someone in a tan minivan took out a gun and shot him, police said.
The shooting took place on the border between the Little Village and Heart of Chicago neighborhoods. Police roped off the intersection of 24th Street and Western, where shattered glass and shell casings littered the area. On 24th Street, just west of the intersection, six evidence markers stood next to shell casings and a trail of broken glass.
To the east, just north of an auto shop, a Toyota Corolla with its flashers and windshield wipers still on had numerous bullet holes on the driver side. The side windows were shattered and the windshield was splashed with blood. About 20 feet away, blood stained the sidewalk near a pile of bloody clothes.
A small group of neighbors stood on the corner discussing the shooting.
Neighbor Karen Leahy, who lives down the street from the scene, had just driven through the intersection, returning from shopping at a local grocery store. She was stunned to find out that she missed the shooting by a few minutes.
“I’m freaking out because I just went through here,” she said.
Leahy, who has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, said there have been a number of violent or crime-related encounters in the neighborhood. But lately, despite the city’s bad run of violence, it appeared things had calmed down, she said.
“I was just saying how we hadn’t had any gang activity or shootings” in a while, Leahy said. “I thought it was getting better.”
In the distance, music could be heard from the Riot Fest music festival at Douglas Park and parking was being sold for $25 a few blocks from the scene.
One man approached the crime scene tape, stared down at the investigators who peered into the bullet-riddled car and blurted out, “This is ‘First 48’ for real.”
Among the crowd who watched detectives canvass the scene was Ray, a 27-year-old father of one, who had just moved back to his old neighborhood from Pontiac, Ill.
“This is the first time I’ve seen something like this since I’ve been back,” said Ray, who declined to give his last name because he feared for his safety. “We’ve heard gunshots in the past few weeks but nothing like this.”
Despite summer, a season marked by the highest number of shootings and homicides, drawing to a close, Ray said he knew better than to expect violence to end entirely in the cooler months.
“It’s never over,” he said.
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