Justin Skolnick lives and works in Portland.

5 shot in Uptown

Originally posted to blockquote.org on in Chicago, Illinois

Verbatim, the first five paragraphs of a news article in today’s Chicago Tribune (subtitle: “There was blood everywhere”) with annotations.

Note: the Tribune’s article has been updated.

Five people were shot Monday evening in the Uptown neighborhood along a Safe Passage route outside a church that was holding a prayer service at the time, officials said.

  • Uptown is one of Chicago’s most diverse neighborhoods in terms of race and mental health. Four years ago the area reportedly “housed 318 convicted felons and 1,350 people with mental illness.” One dark night outside the famed Green Mill jazz club, a man urged me to inform the bartender of the rustic whereabouts of “magic Jesus.” “Trust me,” he said. Another time an ER nurse shared the story of a woman who “got axed” on Lawrence Avenue. Imagining her to be code switching, I asked her what the women had been asked. “No,” she corrected, “axed.
  • Safe Passage routes are a Chicago Public Schools initiative, designed to protect children from gang intimidation and violence as they travel to and from school. Each designated route is patrolled by unarmed civilian employees. The program was conceived in response to the 2009 beating death of CPS feature asks, “Will ‘Safe Passage’ Routes Really Keep Chicago Kids Safe?”

Four shootings in the city since then have also left at least six people injured.

Another conventional (if pornographic) feature of recent news reports is the day’s tally of gun-related casualties.

The Uptown shooting happened at 5:57 p.m. on the 4500 block of North Sheridan Road, police said.

  • That the shooting occurred “in broad daylight,” under sunny skies, speaks to the brazenness of the shooter.
  • Sheridan Road is a major thoroughfare, connecting the city to its white-collar North Shore suburbs and Wisconsin, beginning at the northern end of Lake Shore Drive.

Police said a white, four-door car pulled up in front of the Uptown Baptist Church at Wilson Avenue and Sheridan Road. Someone from inside the car opened fire at a group of people standing in front of the church, wounding five people, police said.

The site of the shooting calls into question common presumptions of urban safety. According to Uptown Baptist’s event calendar, the shooting occurred near the end of the community’s Monday Night Meal, which the church calls “an incredible outreach for the poor and homeless in our community.”

The victims, all men, ranged in age from 21 to 58, Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Ron Gaines said, citing preliminary information.

While it’s unclear from the article whether any one of the victims was targeted, the fact that all five men were adults suggests that the city’s gun violence is not isolated to disaffected urban youths.