No one was injured but the Chicago police are maintaining a heavy presence at the beach
Shots were fired today at North Avenue Beach in Chicago, leading to the closure of the beach for much of the afternoon. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported at this time, providing some relief amidst the alarming situation.
This unfortunate event occurred on the first day the city's 22 beaches opened for the summer, just before the Memorial Day weekend. At approximately 1:26 p.m., officers swiftly responded to a call regarding the shots fired, which took place at 1600 N. Lake Shore Drive. The quick action of the police resulted in the apprehension of a juvenile, who has been taken into custody.
Around the time of the incident, about 100 teens were present in the vicinity and quickly ran as they heard shots being fired. Law enforcement officers had been stationed at the beach throughout the day, actively inspecting people's bags and asked them to vacate the area around 1:45 p.m. to conduct a police search. Consequently, both the beach and the adjacent bike path were closed for public safety.
Eyewitnesses observed officers questioning a group of around twelve individuals, while several people were detained and placed in handcuffs. Simultaneously, the police combed through a nearby stack of lounge chairs, actively searching for evidence or any other possible threats.
According to law enforcement officials, the violent incident was triggered by a dispute among a group of young men present on the beach. Matters escalated when an individual produced a firearm and initiated the shooting, instigating panic and chaos in the area.
The swift response and proactive measures taken by the police demonstrate their commitment to maintaining public safety in such alarming situations. The thorough investigation will continue to unfold as law enforcement diligently gathers information and works towards identifying all individuals involved and the circumstances leading up to the incident.
Interim CPD Supt. Fred Waller said, "The person who fired the weapon was observed. He was taken into custody after a very, very short foot pursuit. Another subject in the same area, was also observed running away with a weapon and he was taken into custody. Two weapons were recovered from him."
The incident remains under investigation by Area 3 detectives, with charges pending against the individual involved. In the interest of public safety, the northern section of North Avenue Beach, south of Fullerton Avenue, remained closed as of Friday afternoon. Authorities are determined to gather all the necessary information to shed light on the circumstances surrounding this distressing incident.
Following the incident, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson expressed awareness of the events and assured the public that he is in contact with the first responders, closely monitoring the situation as further details unfold. Mayor Johnson had already announced plans to address violence across the city during the long weekend, which included funding for street outreach workers, youth programs, and increased police presence throughout Chicago. In an effort to de-escalate potential violence, the state has deployed 30 "peacekeepers" in Chicago over the holiday weekend.
The safety of the community remains a top priority, and local authorities are working to ensure the swift resolution of this incident and to maintain a secure environment for residents and visitors alike. It is not clear how long North Avenue Beach will be closed at this time, police said. However, the bike path is open. Police said bags are being searched at different checkpoints throughout the entire beachfront area.