ROGERS PARK — A spate of violence over the last week that has left three people stabbed and three people shot — two fatally — is not part of a criminal trend on the Far North Side, police said.
"It does look that way, but I can tell you, it’s not a pattern," Rogers Park Police District Cmdr. Thomas Waldera said a day after Mensa Kifle, 20, was gunned down about 10:40 a.m. Monday on the sidewalk of busy North Broadway.
Another man, 24, whom police have not identified, also was shot, but then arrested, after the "gang-related" violence near the popular Lickity Split custard shop, according to Ald. Harry Osterman (48th).
Although the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office reported Kifle's official time of death as 11:27 a.m. at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Waldera said Kifle was found dead at the scene.
"He definitely was a gang member," said Waldera, who wouldn't reveal some details of shooting, citing an ongoing investigation and search for suspects.
Waldera said one of the men had been in a wheelchair, after possibly being injured in another shooting.
The two men were outside when a gunman stepped out of a light-colored van and fired shots, said Officer Michael Sullivan, a Chicago Police Department spokesman.
No one had been charged as of Tuesday afternoon, he said.
Business owners and residents Monday said they were surprised to see such violence in a part of the neighborhood that is usually calm.
On Sunday, three people were stabbed at 7:30 a.m. in the 7400 block of North Ridge Avenue, police said.
"We believe they might be acquaintances," Waldera said, adding that the incident was not gang-related — but likely "alcohol-related."
Bernard Garbo, the CAPS beat facilitator for the area, said that the three had met at a bar and were leaving a concert when one of the men, who might have been "mentally handicapped," pulled out a knife and stabbed another person.
A scuffle ensued, said Garbo, citing police district sources, which then led to all three people being injured with a knife.
"It was a freak event and not part of a pattern of any kind," Garbo said, who had been reaching out to his network of neighbors to quell any fears of the contrary.
On Nov. 27 — Thanksgiving eve — Mark Villannera, 30, was found dead at 3:12 a.m. at the mouth of an alley in the 7500 block of North Greenview Avenue with gunshot wounds in his face and chest, authorities said.
Villannera lived in the 7600 block of North Bosworth Avenue, according to the morgue.
Waldera said the incident "does not appear to be gang-related."
About a week before, police arrested 12 suspects after a monthslong drug sting operation in the Howard Street area.
Police said they rounded up the suspects on Nov. 21 and confiscated cocaine, crack and marijuana with a street value of $3,000.
Police said the investigation began after two fatal shootings in the area earlier in the summer, including one that claimed the life of 22-year-old Blake Lamb, who was gunned down in Willye B. White Park on July 14.