Thursday, May 1, 2014

Eyewitness Account: Two Wounded In Buena Park Shooting

image courtesy of Google Maps

Around 9:45 Wednesday night, two people were injured when shots rang out at 822 West Cuyler, between Broadway and Clarendon.  Readers reported seeing a lot of police cars, and a couple ambulances, on the scene almost immediately.  The Sun-Times has a brief article here.

A reader was right there when it happened and was the first person to speak with the victims and the police who responded.  Here is his account of what happened:

"A friend and I were walking north on the west side of Clarendon and were right at Bittersweet, just barely south of Cuyler, when we heard three (or four? - it was alarming!) shots very VERY nearby!  By the time I was able to pull my phone out to dial 911, I noticed a figure in a dark (blue/black) hoodie run east across Clarendon at Cuyler, into the alley/parking lot that runs between Clarendon and Marine south of the Disney Magnet School.  The time on my call to 911 was 9:45pm.  

By the time 911 picked up (it rang a number of times), an unmarked police car had turned east on Bittersweet and we were able to flag it down as I communicated with the 911 operator that the person running had not gone down Bittersweet, but had gone down the alley/parking lot just north of Bittersweet.  The unmarked car backed up and squealed off down the alley.  

My friend and I walked north to the corner of Cuyler and Clarendon and a police SUV pulled up to ask us for a description of the guy running - but it had all happened so fast that I didn't have much to offer aside from the hoodie and the direction/path of his escape.  However, a man who lives in the building at the southwest corner of Cuyler and Clarendon came out the front door and said that he believed the suspect was Latino, approximately 5'8, and confirmed my report that he was wearing a dark hoodie, probably blue.  That officer also sped off.  

I noticed that people on the balcony above where the shots came from on the north side of Cuyler were signaling and yelling towards me - asking me to signal police to turn down Cuyler because there was at least one victim.  I ran towards the scene and confirmed that someone was on the phone with 911 to update that there was at least one victim - and the witnesses said that "they had dragged" the guy who was shot into one of the buildings on the north side of Cuyler.  There was blood on the sidewalk and an abandoned bookbag that I presume belonged to the victim.  

I entered the gate and located the victims (two African American males - who were also with an unharmed young African American female grade-schooler) locked in a "storage closet" on the first floor of the building.  I asked the victims to open to door so I could (hopefully) help and they said that they were not going to open the door unless they saw a police badge.  

I could see through cracks in the wall that one of the victims was bleeding out of his hand - and he said that he had been shot in the hand or arm - he was the guy talking to me.  The other victim was laying on the ground and vocalizing in pain, saying he couldn't move his leg(s) - the first victim said the second had been shot in the hand/arm and leg.  I encouraged them to apply pressure to their gunshot wounds and assured them that we were on the phone with 911 to get them help.  

When the first police officer arrived on the scene within a minute (probably), the victim shot in the hand/arm only let him in.  I exited the courtyard of the building and told firefighters that I had seen two victims, both with gunshots - they confirmed that two ambulances were en-route - and ran through the gate with a stretcher.  With emergency personnel on the scene, I left.

Holy...  Cow...  Having lived in Uptown since Sept 2006, I've heard plenty of gunshots off in the distance on still, summer nights with my windows open - but NEVER anything this up-close-and-personal.

As my friend and I left the scene of the incident, carefully avoiding the blood on the sidewalk as we walked west down Cuyler towards Broadway, we noted that there were heads poked out of nearly EVERY window on Cuyler, looking back east towards the scene of the incident.

Scary stuff...!!!  However, the police were there almost instantaneously - and will hopefully catch the person who did this.  Thoughts go out to the two victims - and to the young girl with them who NEVER should have had to experience any of this."

And later an update:

"Additional information.  I did a Google Map streetview and this was the scene of the shooting, in front of 818 W Cuyler.

When I arrived on the scene, the blood and backpack were on the sidewalk near the fire hydrant.

The two gunshot victims and young girl had entered the open/unlocked gate in front of the tan door of this building at 818 W Cuyler, turned right, and turned left down the open door/hallway on the eastern edge of the building (visible in the picture) - they were hiding in a storage/utility room under a stairwell in this hallway with the door locked.  I do not know whether they are/were tenants of this building or simply sought shelter there since that's where the shooting occurred.

Just some additional information about where the shooting occurred and where the victims were found minutes after I heard the shots.  To my knowledge, I was the first person to make contact with the victims.  When I entered the open gate and made my way down the hallway, I could HEAR them screaming and/or saying that they had been shot - but couldn't tell from the sounds where they were.  

I proceeded up the first flight of stairs in the hallway, thinking they had gone up - but a resident upstairs said that they had not come upstairs and he (correctly) believed that they were hiding in the utility/storage closet, which is where I found them and talked with them until emergency personnel arrived."

We certainly don't have any more information on what went on than the cops and the witness (and how brave and responsive were he and his friend in what had to have been one of the most stressful situations ever?).  But we do know that it's extremely unusual for a gang member who's been the victim of a crime to refuse to talk to someone unless they see a police badge first.  Usually they clam up and figure their gang will take care of matters without involving law enforcement.  Which is why we get these ridiculous revenge scenarios that go on for months.

We wish for a quick apprehension of the shooter(s) and recovery for the victims, especially the young girl who saw everything.

Update:  According to DNAinfo, the shooting happened after a street argument turned violent.

Update:  Buena Park Neighbors says:  "CAPS MEETING TONIGHT.  The C.A.P.S. meeting will be held at The Ruth Shriman House at 4040 N. Sheridan.  It is the first Thursday of the month and the meeting starts at 7 pm.  Everyone is invited and there will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

We will be hearing from the police about the shooting on Cuyler.  We encourage everyone to come to this meeting as this recent shooting affects us all."

Update:  According to people who went to CAPS tonight, the victims were not gang members.  They got into an argument on the street with gang members, who shot them.  The cops responded very quickly and have FIVE of the gang members in custody.  Nice work, officers.

Update:  From Ald. Cappleman's May 2nd newsletter:  "Last Wednesday evening, a group of individuals were arguing with one another, and one person pulled out a gun and shot 2 people. Both had minor wounds. Five people were later taken into custody for this shooting and the gun was recovered. Investigation is ongoing.  Residents are strongly encouraged to attend their local CAPS meeting to work with others to reduce crime. For more information, call the CAPS office at 312-744-0064."


  1. That section of Cuyler between Broadway and Clarendon is the home "turf" of the last remaining consistent gang activity in Buena Park. The hispanic gang calls themselves the "Adidas Boys" and is aligned with one of the larger hispanic gangs. The two buildings on the corner of Broadway and Cuyler, both sides of the street, need to be renovated and the bangers forced to find "alternative" housing. I've been in Uptown for nigh on three decades and those buildings seemingly haven't been renovated or well maintained for the entire time I've been here. There may be one or two more problem buildings on that section of Cuyler too. Someone who lives in that little section may have a more definitive description of the problem buildings. A few of the buildings have been renovated in the last few years.

    There seems to be some Hispanic Banger shooting Black Banger thing going on there. There've been a few shootings on Broadway near Irving fitting that pattern the past 3-5 years. Perhaps the latest victims just happened to be WWB(Walking While Black) on that street and some proud soldier in the Adidas Boys gangs decided he was offended and decided to start shooting.

    In a very real sense those buildings represent what Uptown was like in the eighties and early nineties. If our "friends" who are blasting Cappleman and supporting Denice Davis actually lived in a neighborhood like that they would shit their pants. Actually since most of the supporters on Uptown Uprising don't seem to actually live in Uptown I guess their pants are safe from being soiled.

    This is one time when the Alderman should enlist the building department and "soil the pants" of the building owners. Without even going in those buildings I can describe what they likely look like. I can close my eyes and picture the violations of the building code. Hundreds of buildings around here used to be just like that. Few are now.

    Time to sell or renovate! The Adidas Boys need to lace up their shoes and take themselves, their guns and their incredibly stupid gang name and move elsewhere. Anyone see any remnants of the "Almighty Gaylords" or "Kenmore Boys" around here recently? I didn't think so. They were the pasty white equivalent of the Adidas Boys. They were just as stupid, although; generally they had worse dental hygiene.

  2. Those building that you talk about were meant to be Condos when the market collapsed. The building where this incident occurred is well maintained although not perfect. The police told me that this area was the center of crime but that doesn't prove true if you look at their own records or the Chicago Tribune's maps. The major crimes seem to happen a few blocks away, more like Wilson, Lawrence and of Course by the Baptist Church. Still if you believe your hunch complain anonymously to the appropriate agency.
    The reason I really came here is congratulate you on actually telling the story. Unlike the other sources, who will give the usual blurb you got the in depth scene.