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Six people shot in Uptown

Updated: June 28, 2013 11:06PM

Six people were shot and wounded Friday night in front of a strip mall in the Uptown neighborhood described by the alderman and community residents as a “hot spot.”

The wounded, five of whom were taken to area hospitals by Fire Department ambulances, included an innocent bystander waiting at a bus stop adjacent to the mall at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Sheridan Road. One of the victims was a woman, allegedly a girlfriend of one of the men who were shot.

It was the same mall where just two weeks ago, a car full of gang members shot up the Cricket cellular phone store from outside, after chasing members of a rival gang into the store.

“I live half a block away. I’m angry,” said 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman, who arrived on the scene as police collected evidence. “I’m just tired of this.”

In the shooting, at least one person opened fire from a four-door sedan driving by the group in the 1000 block of West Lawrence Avenue, police said.

A 23-year-old woman shot in both thighs, a 24-year-old man shot in the buttocks, and a male with a gunshot wound to the ankle were at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, police said.

A 30-year-old man shot in the right thigh and a 33-year-old man shot in the left arm were taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, police said. A 22-year-old woman with a graze wound to the left knee was at Weiss Memorial Hospital.

All six victims were listed in “stable” condition Friday night, police said.

A security guard hired by the Malik’s property manager said he had been chasing the alleged gang members away from the mall — which holds a J.J. Peppers liquor store and KFC restaurant — all evening, calling the police at one point.

“The police came, and the guys left. But as soon as the police left, they came back,” said security guard Royal Smith.

“They hung at the side of the mall at the bus stop, and I asked them to leave, because there were too many of them, and I knew something could go down.”

Smith said he went back into the mall, and a short time later, heard about eight gunshots. He added he exited KFC and saw people running everywhere.

“All you could hear is, ‘Pop! Pop! Pop!’ Like eight times,” Smith said. “I came out to see six bodies on the ground. One, who was shot in the leg, got up and walked away.”

Cappleman said his North Side ward has four to five such “hot spots” the community has been trying to deal with.

“And those hot spots are where we have the shootings,” the alderman said. “It’s a very complex issue. I mean there’s a war going on between three different gangs over drug sales. Everybody’s frustrated.”

He was particularly frustrated that the gang members didn’t care about the lone security guard on the property managed by Property Solutions Group, he said.

“I don’t know if that means we need two security guards,” he told property manager Roxanne Gardner, who had also arrived at the scene. “My expectation is that when there’s a security guard present, that’s a message not to hang around. We’re going to have a meeting to review this, because right now, I’m angry. I’m ready to get this [liquor store] voted dry.”

Gardner said her company has been meeting with the alderman and community residents over problems at the mall, and has asked that the bus stop be moved further from the mall to deter loitering on the public way, because her security can only control mall property.

“I’m angry too. . . But I just don’t know what to do about it,” Gardner said. “We’re doing all the things we’re being asked to do, and it’s just baffling and dumbfounding that these gang members are just so brazen.”

Contributing: Jordan Owen and Allison Horton

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