Gang violence erupts in 17th (Albany Park) District
by JASON MEREL and BRIAN NADIG
Gang violence erupted in the 17th (Albany Park) Police District last week, with recent reported shootings and homicides in Mayfair, Six Corners and Albany Park.
"It’s unfortunate but we’re dealing with a very active conflict of two to three gangs that have been relatively dormant," 17th Police District commander Ronald Pontecore Jr. said this week.
There appears to be a dispute between two gangs, while a third gang may be going through a leadership struggle, Pontecore said. He added that the shootings tend to be targeted but there is always the concern "they won’t always hit each other" and a bystander could be injured.
At least 13 people have been shot in the district since Sept. 11, including fatal shootings in the 3600 block of West Argyle Street, the 3600 block of West Lawrence Avenue and 3400 block of West Carmen Avenue. Other shootings have been reported in the 3500 block of West Lawrence Avenue and the 5100 block of North Kedzie Avenue. See Crime Watch on Page 8 for more details on the shootings.
In one of the most recent incidents, a 19-year-old man was shot in the arm at about 12:40 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, in the 4700 block of West Irving Park Road.
Alderman Samantha Nugent (39th) said that she met with Chicago police superintendent David Brown and has been assured that the district will be getting additional resources in response to the shootings.
"Public safety is a high priority issue," she said. "People are scared."
Nugent recently hosted a virtual meeting with Mayfair residents and the district to discuss an Aug. 28 fatal shooting reported in the 4600 block of North Kasson Avenue and various other reports of gunshots in the community.
Since that meeting, an 18-year-old man sustained gunshot wounds to the chest and back during an incident in a yard at about 6:40 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, in the 4100 block of West Lawrence Avenue, and a woman was robbed at gunpoint at about 12:15 a.m. Friday, Sept. 11, in the 5000 block of North Tripp Avenue, according to police. Nugent is planning to host a safety webinar in the next couple of weeks.
Nugent said that she has requested increased staffing for the district, the installation of cameras and "Shot Spotter" technology, additional enforcement of "troubled buildings" in the area and the immediate deployment of specialized tactical and gang units, some of which had been deployed in other areas of the city in recent months.
Pontecore said that tactical units have been returned to the district, which also is receiving help from specialized units, but he could not elaborate to avoid compromising ongoing missions and investigations.
The district has identified individuals in connection with some of the recent shooting, but arrests have not been made as of press time, Pontecore said.
"It’s about making sure the evidence lines up and we follow the right procedures," he said.
The district will hold its 2021 strategic planning community meeting from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14. Registration for the virtual meeting is available at www.eventbrite.com/e/120582255773.