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Two shot to death blocks apart on West Side

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Updated: July 3, 2013 2:58PM

Two people were shot to death just blocks apart on the West Side late Tuesday and early Wednesday morning in the Austin neighborhood.

A 19-year-old woman died about 9:40 p.m. in the first shooting in the 4800 block of West Potomac, police said.

Several shooters approached a crowd gathered outside a home and opened fire, striking the woman in the head, police said. She was taken to Stroger Hospital where she died shortly thereafter, said police News Affairs Officer Ron Gaines.

Neighbors said the woman recently returned home after training as a pharmacy worker with Job Corps. She was described as a “tomboy” who was nice but quiet by a neighbor who would only identify herself as Kwanzaa.

At the time, several kids were playing in the block, said a neighbor named Bernice, who declined to give more than her first name. “Thank God one of the kids didn’t get shot,” she said.

She said there are escalating tensions between two rival groups in the area.

A woman who identified herself as the deceased’s mother declined to comment, only saying, “It’s just got to stop. It’s just got to stop.”

While police were still gathering evidence, there was more shooting several blocks to the northwest about 12:45 a.m.

Outside Banner Academy West High School, a 14-year-old boy lay dead beside a bicycle in the 5000 block of West North. Damani Henard was shot multiple times, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Chicago police said Damani was riding his bike home when two men ran across the street toward him.

“One of them pulled a gun and shot him at least three times,” Officer Mike Sullivan said. The two men then ran off.

Damani’s family reportedly moved from Chicago’s West Side to escape such violence, and that Damani was preparing to enter Oak Park River Forest high school in August.

Police could not say if the two shootings were related. Few came forward as detectives asked a gathering crowd for witnesses early Wednesday.

Both murders remain under investigation.


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