CHICAGO — One person was killed and six were injured when someone opened fire on a group of people barbecuing in front of their Bronzeville home Tuesday night.
Neighbors said kids as young as six were in the line of fire.
The shooting happened in the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood, about two blocks from police headquarters.
The attackers approached the group on foot before firing. An earlier dispute in a nearby park may have contributed to the violence, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
One of the shooting victims has a history with police and was shot in 2011, Guglielmi said.
“Detectives are exploring whether that man was the intended target or whether this was a verbal dispute that escalated into senseless violence,” Guglielmi said.
The man who was killed was Alfred Mitchell Jr., 28, of Chicago, who was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, authorities said.
A small memorial has been growing near where the 28-year-old was killed. Police said he was shot in the back.
In cases such as these, police have a hard time getting information from people because they fear something will happen to them.
One woman in the neighborhood said she was done being scared.
“I’m not going to be intimated about an area that I grew up in,” LaQuashia White said.
“There was a good amount of people out here gathering. At the same time the individual came through and discharged that weapon,” Andrew Holmes, community activist, said.
White heard the shots and saw the aftermath.
“To know that there were children out there. I saw children couldn’t be more than six, seven. Women yelling and screaming. Then I saw a lady bleeding right in front of my door. I didn’t even go outside,” she said.
So she didn’t see Mitchell bleeding outside her home. He was hit in the back and died from his wounds.
“It was sad to hear when I woke up this morning and saw on the news that the young man died. I’ll pray for his family,” White said.
While she’s sad, she’s also not surprised. White said the people hanging out with Mitchell next door have been causing problems since she moved in two years ago.
She’s called police but said last night was the first time she ever saw a show of force. Which she doesn’t understand because police headquarters is just two blocks away.
When she approached her neighbors about trash, music and banging on the doors at all hours of the night, she said they tried to bully her.
“All you get is intimidation. They bring a gathering of friends to intimate the neighborhood,” she said.
She reluctantly is ready to move.
“I can’t go on living around what I call, ‘endangered species.’ They act they don’t have a care in the world. They have no life. They don’t care about no one else. Like they want to die. It’s sad it’s just sad,” she said.
Mitchell’s friends and family did stop by the memorial to write messages of love on a poster but no one wanted to speak on camera and no answered the door where the seven people were shot in front of.
Which didn’t surprise White. She correctly predicted no one on the block would speak on camera because they’re scared.
White said keeping quiet is a big part of Chicago’s violence problem so that’s why she’s talking.
“There is tremendous fear but I still walk with confidence because I’m a spiritual person. God said, ‘Fear no man.’ So like I said, if I have to walk outside, conceal and carry, so be it.”
The six survivors, including five women, were treated for gunshot wounds to the knees, legs or buttocks. They range in age from 21 to 46 years old.
No one has been arrested in the attack.
Police have increased patrols and detectives are continuing to investigate, including looking for video of the incident.
Holmes said he’s hopeful nearby surveillance cameras captured images of the suspects or other clues.
“If you know who committed this crime, took off in that car, turn those individuals in; and, most important, we need that weapon that was discharged, too,” Holmes said.
The shooting incident comes after Chicago police reported 74 homicides in the city during the month of July.