In what would be its biggest victory yet in the war with Ukraine, Russia claimed to have captured Mariupol after a nearly three-month siege that reduced much of the strategic port city to a smoking ruin, with over 20,000 civilians feared dead.
Shootings have been spiking downtown for much of the year. The 18th police district, where the McDonald’s is located, has logged the most homicides in 17 years and the most shootings since at least 2010.
“This is a gun-crime crisis,” Brown told reporters who pressed him on his strategy going into the summer, typically the most violent time in the city. ”We are awash in guns.”
Brown was asked about a tweet from Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) complaining about the “daily excuses coming out of the superintendent’s office [that] insult intelligence & are infuriating.”
Reilly questioned Brown’s plan to assign fixed police posts at State and Chicago and on the CTA Red Line subway platform nearby in the wake of Thursday night’s attack.
“We were already supposed to have fixed posts in place at Chicago & State. So, huh?” the alderperson tweeted. “City Council needs to step in & demand accountability. Their strategy is failing us miserably.”
Brown declined to respond to the tweet, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot later backed up her superintendent, saying she agreed young people have been “fussing and fighting since the beginning of time,” and the only difference now is that too many of them are settling their differences with a gun.
“There are many young people that I’ve sat with who tell me that they feel like they need a gun to feel safe,” Lightfoot said at an afternoon news conference with Brown at her side. “Frankly, that’s a horrible indictment on our failings as adults.”
“Parents, you’ve got to know where your kids are,” she said. “This is your responsibility, first and foremost. We’re going to do our part. But parents, guardians and caring adults in these children’s lives — they must absolutely step up. We will never solve this problem without that first line of defense. We won’t.”
She did not directly respond to Reilly’s tweet either, but like Brown, she insisted CPD strategies are not failing and actually helped make an arrest within minutes of the mass shooting.
“There were some roving posts and the officers were very close last night, which is how they were able to apprehend the shooter so quickly,” the mayor said. “But we’ve got to have a fixed post at that corner — Chicago and State — and we’ve got to have a fixed post inside that CTA Red Line … I want these young people, if they’re coming downtown, I want them to be safe.”
“Our officers waded into the crowd,” Brown said, then chased the gunman onto the Red Line subway platform and arrested him along with someone who tried to help him escape.
A gun was recovered, police said.
A third suspect being chased into the subway ended up on the tracks and suffered burns when she came into contact with the electrified third rail. She was stabilized at Stroger Hospital.
Charges against the three were still pending as Brown spoke.
The superintendent said the attack was recorded by a police surveillance camera. Two groups are arguing when someone can be seen handing the shooter a gun, Brown said.
Five people were taken by ambulances to hospitals:
• A male with a gunshot wound to the chest, pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He was identified by the Cook County medical examiner’s office as Antonio Wade, 30.
• A 31-year-old man, pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital.
• A 17-year-old boy, taken to Stroger with multiple gunshot wounds.
• A 19-year-old man taken to Northwestern in critical condition with a gunshot wound to his chest.
• A 46-year-old woman shot in the leg and taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where she was stabilized.
Later, four men also hurt in the shooting showed up at Northwestern Memorial Hospital: a 31-year-old shot in the hand; a 21-year-old shot in the arm; a 30-year-old with two graze wounds; and a 29-year-old with one graze wound, police said. All were in good condition.
Police had initially said a total of 10 people were shot, but later changed that to 9.
Witnesses said the shooting stemmed from a fight outside the McDonald’s, and the chaotic scene quickly spilled into the nearby CTA Red Line station as police chased the suspects, stopping at least one train and evacuating passengers.
“When the fight first started, we were right next to them,” said Deonna Jackson, 18. “We had to run because I didn’t want anyone to swing on me. … We were literally right there.”
She added: “The person that they jumped on, we were talking to the people he was with, which turned out to be some girls. … We get to 7-Eleven, we turn around and they just get to shooting, to shooting like crazy.”
Tensions erupted among the crowd of onlookers, some yelling as officers blocked off the streets around the McDonald’s. Some in the crowd began fighting with each other and officers quickly moved in to break them up.
One person asked an officer why it had to be this way. “It doesn’t have to be,” the officer responded.
As the sun rose Friday, two people who said they knew one of the victims at Northwestern talked near a car where a woman, appearing distraught, spoke to someone on the phone.
“There’s nothing you can do or say to help us right now,” one of them said. Getting information from police and hospitals was difficult, he said: “These victims have mothers.”
About an hour later, the woman was seen leaving the hospital in tears. Three others sobbed and hugged each other near the hospital’s entrance.
Back at the shooting scene, a few blocks from the hospital, morning commuters walked through blood, broken glass and other debris from the attack that remained on the sidewalks around the restaurant and subway stop.
“This is an ongoing crime scene that needs to be processed for evidence,” Brown said.
A reporter noted that commuters were navigating puddles of blood in an area that was not cordoned off by crime scene tape. “I stand by my response,” Brown said.
Later in the morning, the city’s Department of Buildings posted an “off limits” sign at the McDonald’s because of “dangerous and hazardous electrical conditions.” The statement did not elaborate.
The closure came despite comments at a morning news conference by Kenneth J. Meyer, head of the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, who said he didn’t want to overreact and yank the business license for the McDonald’s because it is open 24 hours a day and provides a food option for many nearby hospital employees working overnight shifts.
Lightfoot said inspectors found some “pretty serious electrical issues that need to be fixed” before the place can reopen.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin the “complete liberation” of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol — the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance — and the city as a whole, spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Friday.
There was no immediate confirmation from Ukraine.
Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti quoted the ministry as saying a total of 2,439 Ukrainian fighters who had been holed up at the steelworks had surrendered since Monday, including over 500 on Friday.
As they surrendered, the troops were taken prisoner by the Russians, and at least some were taken to a former penal colony. Others were said to be hospitalized.
The defense of the steel mill had been led by Ukraine’s Azov Regiment, whose far-right origins have been seized on by the Kremlin as part of an effort to cast its invasion as a battle against Nazi influence in Ukraine. Russia said the Azov commander was taken away from the plant in an armored vehicle.
For the third time this week, Chicago’s top cop found himself on the defensive over gun violence Friday, this time over a mass shooting downtown that left two dead and seven injured.
The people were shot near a notorious trouble-spot at Chicago Avenue and State Street as two groups began fighting near a McDonald’s restaurant and someone opened fire into the crowd.
The attack occurred just a day after Chicago police shot and seriously wounded an unarmed 13-year-old boy during a chase in Austin, and less than a week after a 16-year-old boy was fatally shot during a fight in Millennium Park.
The rich and powerful flocking to Davos this year won’t be forced for once to bear the icy winter wind, but the frostiness toward Russia, whose oligarchs have thrown some of the most famously glitzy parties at the World Economic Forum, will be palpable.
The first in-person meeting in the Swiss Alps of the WEF in two years starts on Sunday after Covid-related interruptions. Even this gathering was delayed from the usual late January schedule, meaning the snow is confined for once to the peaks.
The forum is different in other ways, too. Hanging over the panels, speeches and evening soirees is the reality of a war raging hundreds of miles to the east. President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine has put an abrupt end to decades of Russian presence and influence in Davos.
There will likely be a more subdued tone as a whole, with the WEF attended by a clutch of Ukrainian officials seeking to keep global attention on their plight with the war in its third month. A keynote address (via video conference) will be given by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
It will be the first WEF in Switzerland since the fall of communism without a single Russian official or business leader. Russian companies have been nixed as strategic partners, a group of international businesses that play a prominent part in the calendar of events at a cost of 600,000 Swiss francs ($615,000) per year. Russia House — renown for its chilled vodka — won’t even be set up.
That’s a far cry from the heyday of Moscow’s largess in Davos, when vodka and caviar-fueled parties sponsored by Russians were notorious for hosting large groups of young women without accreditation who claimed to be translators.
Putin’s war has seen unprecedented sanctions slapped on Russia from its political leadership to its oligarchs and biggest companies. International firms have pulled out of the country en masse. Trade and investment from the Europe and the U.S. with Russia has evaporated. of the world, sending their massive yachts hopping from one port to the other to stay ahead of the law. All of a sudden anything “Russian” is seen as taboo.
The WEF is no exception.
At the last meeting in Davos in 2020, Russian tycoons were the third-best represented by billionaire count. But their future in Davos started to crumble just three days after Moscow attacked Ukraine, when WEF founder Klaus Schwab and President Borge Brende issued a statement condemning “the aggression by Russia against Ukraine, the attacks and atrocities.”
It’s a contrast to the treatment of Russia after Putin annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Even though Russia’s official presence at Davos dwindled, its billionaires and business leaders didn’t downgrade their profiles.
Flocking to the Alps to enjoy Switzerland’s longstanding policy of neutrality in 2015, VTB chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrey Kostin said “we have friends here. Ukrainian friends, European friends, American friends.”