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‘Drug, gang activity’  suspected in Lake Shore Drive shooting

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Updated: March 3, 2013 6:08AM

The woman shot to death in a van on Lake Shore Drive early Friday was a convicted felon and a documented gang member, a police source told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Investigators looking into the pre-dawn shooting had earlier said the killing was likely connected to “drug and gang activity.”

Michelle Smith, 32, of the 5000 block of S. Paulina, was found slumped in the driver’s seat of her vehicle — “riddled with bullets” — after she was shot early Friday morning on Lake Shore Drive near the Stevenson Expy.

Someone inside a full-sized “brown van” fired shots at the woman’s white van while it was on Lake Shore Drive, Illinois State Police Capt. Luis Gutierrez told reporters.The exact circumstances of what led the shooter to fire off “10 to 14 rounds” remained unclear Friday and investigators had no one in custody but Gutierrez said it was likely gang-related.

Police found the woman, believed to be in her 30s, after responding to a call of a car crash. The dead woman was inside her van in the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive near I-55, police said.

The woman was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, Illinois State Police said.

Another female passenger in the van was not injured, police said. The passenger was in police custody for questioning early Friday.

Gutierrez said the victim, shortly before the shooting, had driven from the North Side.

After being closed for almost seven hours Friday morning, police reopened the outbound Stevenson ramp at southbound Lake Shore Drive.

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