Teen Killed in Humboldt Park Likely Caught in Crossfire, Cops Say

By Darryl Holliday on February 17, 2013 9:55am 

CHICAGO — A teen girl was likely at the wrong place at the wrong time when she was shot dead in Humboldt Park Friday night, police said.

Frances Colon was found in the 1100 block of North Pulaski Road with a fatal gunshot wound to her back around 7 p.m. Friday, police said.

Officers overheard the shots and later found Colon lying on a sidewalk, according to authorities.

Police said they do not believe she was the intended target.

According to neighbors and churchgoers, the block, including alleyways and the Linden Playlot Park, is well-known for its gang activity and open-air drug market.

"It's us against each other, that's the worst part," said Javier "J.C." Carlos, whose home sits immediately next door to where Colon was shot. "It's always riff-raff out here."

Carlos was out of town Friday night but on Sunday morning he pointed across the street to the playground where he said another teen, Jeffrey Stewart, was shot in December.

He also said that a man was shot in his car at the same location no more than six months ago.

The gangbangers are visible any day of the week the former Marine Corps. member said.

"As long as it doesn't come through [my] windows I won't have to use the training they taught me in the corps. — that's not something I want to do," he said.

Congregation members at the Tabernaculo de Restauracion said they didn't hear or see the shots that killed Colon due to a worship service that was going on at the same time, but some members expressed worry for the safety of the young children eagerly running through the halls.

"We're safe inside the church but once you leave you don't know what's going to happen," said Tony Melendrez, a taxi driver who has attended the church for nearly four years. "This happened last summer in the park too."

"We need more safety, more patrols," he said.

Both Melendrez and Carlos said drug and gang activity centered the park, located at 1129-47 N. Pulaski Rd.

"It's bad everywhere, but it's common that kids can't safely play — so that's where the bangers hang out," Carlos said.

The playground and basketball court, which was renovated within the last year was empty Sunday afternoon, but more than a dozen gang markings could be seen scrawled across the the newly-laid basketball court.

Colon, of the 2900 block of West Armitage Avenue in Logan Square, was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital and pronounced dead at 8:16 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

No one was in custody as of Sunday morning, police said.

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