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On June 12, Evanston police charged a 21-year-old Evanston man with unlawful use of a firearm in an incident that occurred across the street from Evanston Township High School, said Commander Jay Parrott of the Evanston Police Department.
The day before, two men had a dispute in the front yard of a residence in the 1600 block of Dodge Avenue, said the Commander. After an exchange of words, they exchanged gun shots. One man fled on foot and was caught by police who were already in the area, said the Commander. That man had a .22 semi-automatic pistol in his hand when he was caught, said the Commander. The gun was jammed.
Seventh Ward Alderman Jane Grover saw at least part of the shooting incident after coming out of the parking lot behind ETHS. As she was traveling east on Church Street just west of Dodge Avenue, she heard gun shots and then turned and saw a man firing a gun. The man was standing on the sidewalk in front of the house just south of the parking lot at Church Street and Dodge Avenue. He was firing north toward Church Street. “People were scrambling to get out of the way,” she said.
After firing, the man went into the house. “He was not the only one to go back into the house,” Ald. Grover said. She pulled over and called 911.
The house was quickly “surrounded by police,” said Commander Parrott.
“There’s disregard for safety when somebody pulls a trigger on a gun and lets a round go,” said the Commander. Speaking in general terms, he said, “These individuals that are shooting guns are not trained and they are reckless. Pretty soon they’re going to take an innocent life. They already have.”
Police recovered shell casings from the sidewalk and the front yard where the dispute took place, said the Commander. They searched the house and the area, but were not able to locate a gun. They took a man who was suspected to be the second shooter into custody for questioning, and took other persons in for questioning as well. No additional charges have been filed because police have not located the gun and no witnesses who could identify the second shooter have come forward, Commander Parrott said.
Ald. Grover said she was “irate” about the shooting. “There’s some idiot on our street, shooting at our people, across the street from our high school at four in the afternoon.”
She said there were five to seven people standing around the shooter, there were people pulling into the parking lot further south on Dodge Avenue for a middle school graduation, there were people at Boocoo, there were people along Church Street.
“There were at least 30 people in the immediate vicinity – within reach of a bullet – and each one of these people had information that was relevant and could have been a part of this larger puzzle about who the shooter was, who was involved, who went back into the house with him, and what’s going on. There could have been people injured. And I didn’t see anybody rushing to see if people were injured.
“We need more people when they see something to say something and to be a witness, and not make a judgment about the relevancy of that piece of information they have, but to provide it to law enforcement.,” said Ald. Grover.
When people do not come forward, “it’s a hindrance to making this community safer,” said Commander Parrott. “It’s an obstacle. A lot of people look to law enforcement officers to get these individuals off the street to make the community safer. We want to, believe me. Our number one goal is to make Evanston a safer community. But people have to understand there are obstacles.”
He too asked people to come forward if they have information.