Activists call on city to help homeless after fatal shooting

CHICAGO — A fatal shooting Monday night at a South Side homeless encampment led to activists to call on the city to get more of the homeless population out of the cold.

A suspect was taken into custody after a 57-year-old man was fatally shot near Taylor Street and Des Plaines Avenue in the South Loop around 5 p.m. Monday at an encampment for people experiencing homelessness.

The 57-year-old was taken to Stroger Hospital with a gunshot wound to the stomach in critical condition.  He was later pronounced dead.

Some who live at the encampment told WGN News the two men were involved in an ongoing dispute concerning heaters and propane tanks used to stay warm. The dispute reportedly started several weeks ago.

The man's identity has not been released.

Activists said the death was another tragic reminder that a permanent solution needs to be found to get the homeless population out of tent cities.

Some people have been using propane heaters to try to stay warm this winter, which is a dangerous fire risk.

Activist Ja’Mal Green donated $1,000 to help people find a safe place out of the cold.

“These people are living in tents with nothing and they’re trying to do what they can to stay warm and I don`t blame them for having some source of heat,” he said. “Let’s get these people off the streets and we don’t have to worry about propane tanks or fires over here.”

What Green and other activists would like to see is permanent housing, perhaps using vacant homes in parts of the South and West Sides.

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