CHICAGO – Hundreds of teenagers flooded into Downtown Chicago on Saturday night, smashing car windows, trying to get into Millennium Park, and prompting a major police response. At least one person in a car was attacked.
Shots were fired near the corner of Madison and Michigan, and FOX 32 Chicago decided that it was unsafe to keep our news crew on the scene.
Two teens were wounded by gunfire in the crowds in the first block of East Washington Street. A 16 and 17-year-old boy were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in fair condition with gunshot wounds.
A woman whose car was smashed by people jumping on the windshield said her husband was beaten as he sat in the driver’s seat. He’s been taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
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Police were escorting tourists and others back to their cars in the Millennium Park garage.
The crowd was trying to get into Millennium Park, but there are checkpoints around the perimeter and people under 21 are not allowed without an adult.
Video posted on social media shows people standing on top of a CTA bus and dancing. The CTA said that some service through the downtown area was disrupted on Saturday night because of police activity.
Chicago police said nine adults and six juveniles were arrested. Most were charged with reckless conduct. A 16-year-old boy was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, and two people were charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.
“Everyone is welcome and encouraged to enjoy all that Chicago has to offer including the popular downtown area, but criminal activity will never be tolerated,” police said in a statement. “Those engaged in criminal activity will be arrested and held accountable.”
This is the second time this weekend that a group of rowdy teenagers has prompted a police response. On Friday night, hundreds of kids went to 31st Avenue Beach, and a 14-year-old was shot.
Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson said the city needs a “comprehensive approach to improve public safety.”
“In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend,” Johnson said in a statement. “It is unacceptable and has no place in our city. However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.”
In a statement released on Sunday, outgoing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said parents need to instill proper values in their children.
“[P]arents and guardians must know where their children are and be responsible for their actions. Instilling the important values of respect for people and property must begin at home,” she said.