Sh*ts were fired just hours after North Avenue Beach opened for the season, sending tourists running for cover and ultimately leading to the beach’s closure on Friday afternoon.
While covering the opening of Chicago’s lakefront beaches for the Memorial Day weekend, CBS 2’s Asal Rezaei and her photographer heard gunfire at North Avenue Beach at 1:30 p.m., less than three hours after the beaches had first opened to the public.
Roughly a hundred witnesses saw what happened and immediately began fleeing. The windows of a truck used by the Chicago Park District were sh*t out. There were no reported injuries. The police have detained a juvenile, 15, whom they believe to be the shooter.
Police had been on the beach all day, searching people’s bags, and finally asked them to leave at 1:45 p.m. The cycling route next to the beach was also closed. Several people were handcuffed as police searched a nearby stack of lounge chairs and questioned a group of approximately a dozen people.
A group of young guys reportedly got into a brawl on the beach before one of them pulled out a gun and opened fire, according to the police. A group of students from DePaul University were relaxing around 200 feet away on their day off.
“We were really close, actually. We were having fun, and then all of a sudden these people started fighting, and the police came out, and then we heard a gunshot, and we just ran away to safety,” Claire Nelson said. A Chicago Park District truck had its window broken. There were no reported injuries at the scene, although several persons need medical attention for alcohol poisoning.
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Later on Friday, questions were posed to Interim Chief of Police Fred Waller. “The person who fired the we@pon was observed,” Waller said. “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 we@pon and he was taken into custody. Two we@pons were recovered from him.”
When the beach would open again was a mystery. The mayor and other municipal officials had just unveiled the city’s Memorial Day weekend safety strategy, which included a larger police presence in all areas of the city, including the lakefront, less than 24 hours before the shooting.
The news can be confirmed by the tweet below:
BREAKING: North Avenue beach closed after shot fired along lakefront. CPD search underway. https://t.co/SwRcHkbIc5
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) May 26, 2023
Officers were able to rapidly respond to gunfire at North Avenue Beach thanks to the police presence on the beaches. This weekend, in addition to police, violence interrupters will be present in the downtown area. Several groups, including Englewood First Responders, dispersed across Millennium Park and the Loop on Friday night.
“I just want to set an example for Black kids period,” said Saunte Brown, of Englewood First Responders. “We all com from a struggle. I’m here. I’m young. It’ doesn’t matter your age.” Brown, age 16, volunteered in the hopes of reaching her peers and averting another catastrophic incident like the one that took place in the downtown area a month ago.
There were a number of sh*otings and other violent crimes. Charles McKenzie, of the Englewood First Responders, said their goal is to make sure young people, “come down here and enjoy themselves peacefully, not tear anything up, not to hurt anybody. Hopefully they can come down here and have a good time.”
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