Police have ‘good leads’ in Terror Town shootings: source
BY TINA SFONDELES AND FRANK MAIN Staff Reporters August 24, 2012 12:08PM
Multiple people shot on 79th & Essex. Thursday, August 23, 2012 | Brian Jackson~Sun Times
Updated: September 26, 2012 6:05AM
They call it Terror Town. On Thursday, it lived up to its name.
Eight people were shot in a fight between warring factions of the same gang in the South Side neighborhood known by the alarming name. They were among 19 shot citywide in a violent nine-hour stretch that began at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.
Police and residents alike agree on the name of the neighborhood on the South Shore.
Gang-banging has long gone on in the area, but disputes used to be resolved largely without weapons, longtime residents say. Now, fights are settled with guns, they say.
“When we was growing up, we were growing up gang-banging and fighting with our fists,” said Donnell Johnson, 42. “These kids aren’t picking up sticks or bottles, nothing. They ain’t. They come and shoot you.”
Gang-bangers are staying closer to home and fighting more among themselves.
“It always has been bad in this neighborhood. That’s how they got the name Terror Town, but it ain’t never been bad within the neighborhood,” Johnson said. “Now it’s become where you’re fighting your neighbor. You can’t even go to the store because you get into it with him and he see you, then he’ll be waiting outside the store to shoot you.”
Terror Town’s borders are 75th and 79th streets between Yates and Colfax, residents say.
Longtime resident Tinesha Spann, 38, runs errands for her three children and her mother because she doesn’t want them stepping out of the apartment at night. “You can’t trust anybody here because these are kids that are doing this,” Spann said. “They know what guns do but they try to make a name for themselves for reasons I do not understand.”
Neighbors say Thursday’s shooting may have been retaliation for an apparent gang-related shooting on Aug. 15 in the 7500 block of South Kingston. L.C. Robinson III, 39, was killed; a 59-year-old man was shot but survived. Spann said the three shooters were kids.
“They shot him on the corner of 76th and Kingston into a crowd. Three little boys,” Spann said. “. . . They were saying one boy wasn’t even big enough to hold the gun because the gun was kicking back. That’s how strong it was. . . . He was so small, he had an automatic and he couldn’t hold the gun.”
Thursday’s bloodbath happened about 9:15 p.m. in the 7800 block of South Essex. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said police had been on the scene an hour earlier, and even cleared the corner but couldn’t stop what happened later.
“If we would have done that five minutes before the shooting maybe it wouldn’t have happened,” he told reporters Friday night. “Or maybe we prevented the shooting 20 minutes sooner.”
The eight wounded included two 14-year-olds; a 15-year-old, and others ranging in age from 16 to 28.
Residents say one of the victims had a colostomy bag from injuries he suffered in a previous shooting.
On Friday, police were trying to identify the people in the car used in the drive-by. The car was found nearby, and a blood trail led to the South Shore Motel at 81st and Stony Island. Police found two guns in a room in the motel. Surveillance video showed two men leaving the motel before officers arrived.
Late Friday, a police source said investigators have “good leads” in the case because the suspects allegedly used their driver’s licenses to check into the motel.
It was unclear whether the shooters got their targets, but residents think they at least got some of their friends. “They just think, you come f - - - with me, I’m going to go shoot some of your friends of yours all hanging out,” said Demetrius Edwards, 29. “Every year is the worst year, but now it’s getting worse and worse and worse.”
On Friday afternoon, the streets of Terror Town were largely empty, besides some young girls taking an afternoon walk.
“It’s calm now, but at any minute, even 10 minutes from now, it could just blow up,” Johnson said.
Contributing: Hunter Clauss