Man shot, critically wounded near Mag Mile - FOX 32 News Chicago

Man shot, critically wounded near Mag Mile

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A man was shot and critically injured early Friday near the Magnificent Mile in what police sources said is being investigated as a gang-related road rage attack.

The location of the shooting on Ontario Street just a few feet away from North Michigan Avenue — the city's marquee shopping district — stunned Chicago aldermen.

"When you start having that [violence] in a place where people generally feel safe, that's when we start becoming Detroit," said one alderman, who asked to remain antonymous.

Police sources told the Sun-Times the victim is a "documented gang member."

The shooting occurred at 12:33 a.m. 

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said the 31-year-old victim, who was taken in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, was initially the "aggressor," that he had been in one vehicle and got into a confrontation with another driver.

"The cars end up pulling over to the curb, and they get into a confrontation," McCarthy said. "One guy gets out of his car, goes over to the other guy's car and uses a pipe to break the window of the guy who did the shooting. The guy who got shot was an aggressor."

The man was in critical condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Rev. Robin Hood, a community activist, says people should not be surprised that this type of violence is now being seen in downtown.

"Well after the cup begin to get full, it has to run over. And violence is running rampant all over the city of Chicago. So it's to no surprise to people like me that's on the front line, that eventually it will spill to our most precious parts of the city," Rev. Hood says.

Rev. Hood says there is a lack of jobs and resources for ex-offenders returning to the community and poverty is to blame for the rise in crime. He says the criminals are doing it out of desperation.

"We have, on this date, more young people that don't have summer jobs. We have got more young people that are living in poverty than we have ever had in the past," he said.

Downtown and River North already were on edge because of a return of the mob attacks that occurred in the area last summer. Those attacks involved random and innocent victims, including two doctors at Northwestern Memorial. The attacks prompted the hospital to offer employees who work late at night a security escort to their cars parked at nearby garages.

No one is in custody and Area Central detectives are investigating.

Fraternal Order of Police union president Mike Shields called the shooting a troubling reminder of the manpower shortage in the police department resulting from a three-year hiring slowdown and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's decision to balance his first budget by eliminating more than 1,400 police vacancies.

"There are shootings in the Gold Coast at night clubs," Shields said. "There are shootings at nightclubs late at night in Lincoln Park. But this type of stuff does not happen or should not happen on Michigan Avenue.

"Gang members have become bold and brazen. They know that all the police are on the South Side and on the West Side. So it's so much easier to go in to a neighborhood that's known to be low in crime because they're under-policed."

Shields said the city is in a "manpower crisis" and that Emanuel and police Supt. Garry McCarthy "refuse to admit it."

He added, "Why was NATO successful? It's because we had proper manpower levels. Chicago police officers are out there with one hand tied behind their back because they don't have the backup, and the gangbangers know it. They have the police outnumbered and overworked.

"When officers, because of such a high volume of calls, don't have time to aggressively patrol gang members, incidents like this will happen — everywhere and anywhere."

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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