9 injured, 1 killed in Chicago shooting; police searching for 2 gunmenGrace HauckUSA TODAY
CHICAGO – Police were searching for two men who opened fire in a South Side neighborhood early Saturday, killing one woman and injuring nine other people.
The 10 victims were standing on the sidewalk in Chicago's Chatham neighborhood when the two men approached around 2 a.m., police said.
A 29-year-old woman was shot in the abdomen and left knee and pronounced dead at the University of Chicago Medical Center, police said.
Six men – 26, 27, 30, 32, 41 and 46 – were in fair condition at four different area hospitals, police said. A 34-year-old woman and two 23-year-old men were in good condition at Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center, police said.
"It was extra devastating that it was so close to home," said Stephanie Hart, owner of Brown Sugar Bakery, which is located near the scene of the shooting and has been in operation for 17 years.
Hart said she learned of the shooting around 5 a.m., as friends and family started calling to check in on her. Hart said she immediately hopped on the phone with local business owners to plan a pop-up "Piece of Cake for Peace" event to motivate herself to get out of bed – and to rally her community.
"It’s so easy to be dark. We’ve had an extra amazingly difficult year for everyone," Hart said. "I know we’re just a bakery, but we try to do the best work we can with making people happy with cake. I wish I had a better solution. I wish I had a magic wand."
Ahmad "Eddie" Elkhatib, who has owned nearby A&S Beverages for 30 years, said his business was working with Hart's to hand out free cupcakes and offer a beverage tasting to "show solidarity with the neighborhood."
Elkhatib said he got a call from his alderman around 3 a.m. informing him of the shooting and asking for his shop's security camera video.
"This street is loved by so many people, and it means a lot for so many families because we employ so many people. We don’t want to lose that," Elkhatib said.
Nedra Sims Fears, executive director of the Greater Chatham Initiative, a nonprofit that supports housing and economic development in surrounding neighborhoods, said she was "devastated" by the shooting.
"We’re saddened by it, but we’re resilient," Fears said. "We rally around each other, and we’ll rally around this and overcome it as we have overcome so much else."
The shooting happened on the 7500 block of S. Prairie Ave. The 75th Street Corridor is home to many Black-owned businesses, and, last September, the city opened a boardwalk along the street to create a community gathering space and reinvigorate economic activity in the area.
"It has been a phenomenal success. It’s like having an outdoor living room for the community," Fears said.
Hart said the community is "trying to be concentrated on emitting life and hope and light."
"All the strides that we’ve made are not going to get turned around," Hart said. "That was something that happened at night. This is the daytime. This is what we do. This is how we grow."
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The incident is just the most recent in a series of shootings this year. More than 1,500 people have been shot in Chicago so far in 2021 – an 18% increase from the same time period last year, according to city data. More than 250 people have died from gunshot wounds.
At least three other people were shot in separate shootings in the early hours of Saturday morning, police said. All three were in good condition.
Other U.S. cities – including Austin, Texas, and Savannah, Georgia – also saw shootings with multiple victims late Friday into early Saturday, which marked the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.
Nationwide, there have been 17 mass killings so far this year, defined as at least four people killed, not including the shooter, according to a USA TODAY/Associated Press/Northeastern University database. Sixteen of those were shootings.
Last summer, in Chicago's nearby Auburn Gresham neighborhood, 15 were shot at a funeral in what was the city's largest shooting in recent memory.