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Residents gathered at a Second Ward Meeting on Aug. 10 to hear an update on a late-night shooting incident that sent four gunshots into their neighborhood, one of which entered the window of a City employee’s second-floor apartment.
At the meeting, hosted by Second Ward Alderman Peter Braithwaite at Fire Station No. 4 on Washington Street, Deputy Police Commander Jay Parrott told residents no leads have yet been found in the July 31 incident and, while it is believed the City employee was not the intended target, the intended victim is not yet known.
The special operations team, which reaches out to street gangs and informants, has not come up with anything to date, said Deputy Chief Parrott, and multiple canvasing efforts in the neighborhood have not produced any leads. No camera footage has been located and no witnesses have come forward.
Four shell casings were recovered from the scene, however, and are being analyzed to see if they match those found in other incidents.
“We are hoping the shell casings found are going to provide us more direction as to why this occurred,” said Deputy Chief Parrott, adding that the crime lab analysis will takes about four to six weeks.
Neighbors asked if this incident can be linked to an earlier one that took place a few months back in the area.
“One thing we never want to do is tie one incident to another without some substantiation,” said Deputy Chief Parrott. “There have been groups who live in the 1700 and 1800 blocks (of Monroe and Washington) that we’ve had to deal with over time but nothing recently in the last several months.
“We have found that in shootings in general there is some tie to drugs or gang activity. That is the unfortunate cycle that takes place. We are confident based on that pattern there may be some link to that [in this case].”
“Is this a gang area?” asked one neighbor.
“No, I would say it is not. There may be residences [with frequent police activity] but no,” said the Deputy Chief.
“How many gang members are there in Evanston?” asked another neighbor.
“There are probably 30 individuals who repeatedly find themselves in a cycle of violence,” said Deputy Chief Parrott, who confirmed the EPD has photos of alleged gang members but that such information cannot be released publicly because it is protected by law and would “violate their rights.”
“They violate us!” said the neighbor. “I understand sir,” said the Deputy Chief.
Ald. Braithwaite said neighborhood safety is the “highest priority” in Evanston and encouraged residents to remain vigilant and call the police if they see suspicious behavior.