Police: 2 dead, 1 injured in shooting near ‘open-air drug market’ on West Side

CHICAGO — Two young men are dead and a third man is in critical condition after a shooting on the West Side Wednesday morning, Chicago police and fire officials confirm.

CPD Deputy Chief Al Nagode said a small group of about four men were standing on the corner of St. Louis and Ohio just before 10 a.m. Wednesday when a vehicle pulled up and at least two individuals got out before firing at the group  "without provocation."

Nagode said the men on the corner appear to have scattered to flee the gunfire, but two individuals identified as "roughly" 19 years old were struck and killed. A 29-year-old man was shot in the chest. Later, investigators found at least 30 bullet casings on the scene.

Officers responding to the scene pulled over a fleeing vehicle, Nagode said, where they discovered the 29-year-old victim. He was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition.

Not too long ago, police were were trumpeting crime stats which showed a decline in shootings and homicides compared to last year.  Then since Monday, at least 27 people have been shot and six killed, according to a count by WGN. That includes the shooting of 10 people in less than 10 hours.

The area in East Garfield Park where the shooting took place is a known open-air drug market where there's an active gang conflict, according to police.

"We've been working closely with the residents in this area, and in fact our officers heard the shots fired because they were specifically assigned here by the commander," Nagode said.

Witnesses said the shooters drove away in a white or grey four-door vehicle.  While there are no descriptions of suspects at this time, Nagode said they hope to use nearby cameras to find clearer images, and detectives are canvassing the neighborhood to look for witnesses.

Nagode said there is a history of gang conflicts in the area, particularly involving the sale of narcotics.

"It's very localized, sometimes block by block, so one of our biggest challenges in this area is to ensure that when we see these conflicts arise, and we see these tensions grow, that we have to jump on that right away," Nagode said.

Incoming mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has already met with Chicago police leadership since her election, and violence is a "top priority."

"If people don't feel safe they aren’t going to stay in the city," Lightfoot said.

Police have made no arrests, but said they are trying and get a good description of the shooters' vehicle.

CPD Deputy Chief Al Nagode speaks near the location of a shooting at 3400 W. Ohio St. Wednesday morning

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