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Gunfire Near Bridgeport Police Station Leaves Neighbors Worried

By Casey Cora | April 1, 2014 7:43am
 Shattered glass from a hail of gunfire that struck a parked car hasn't been cleaned up since a March 28 shooting in the 3200 block of South Lituanica Avenue.
Shattered glass from a hail of gunfire that struck a parked car hasn't been cleaned up since a March 28 shooting in the 3200 block of South Lituanica Avenue.
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DNAinfo/Casey Cora

BRIDGEPORT — The sound of gunshots erupted in an all-too-familiar neighborhood intersection, this time badly damaging a car and once again leaving residents shaken up.

The shootings took place about 9:35 p.m. Friday in the 3200 block of South Lituanica Avenue, an area neighbors say is an occasional hotbed of gang activity even though it's just one block west of the Chicago Police Department's Deering District headquarters.

A police spokesman said he's "reticent to discuss [gang] strategy" but said investigators are working to prevent more crime in the area.

"Regardless of where the location is, whether it's outside a police station or another part of the community, we take matters of gang violence seriously," police spokesman Adam Collins said.

No injuries were reported in the barrage of bullets, but one car was damaged when the shooter ducked behind the parked vehicle, firing roughly 10 times toward the Bridgeport Homes, a Chicago Housing Authority development adjacent to the Chicago Youth Center's Bridgeport Fellowship House for kids.

Neighbors say they're sick of the dangerous gang activity in the area — and the police department's attitude toward non-fatal shootings.

"The nonchalant attitude to gunfire is too pervasive ... the only reason this was [classified as] property damage is that one of those bullets didn't hit somebody," said the source, a member of the Bridgeport Citizens Group who asked to remain anonymous.

Friday night's incident is the last in a long string of flare-ups between rival street gangs battling for turf in the residential area. According to data compiled by WBEZ using the Chicago Crime Commission "Gang Book," it's the Latin Kings and Satan's Disciples accounting for the area's gang activity.

The warring erupted into deadly violence in September 2012, when Jose Escobar was gunned down outside Johnny O's hot dog stand. Escobar, 25, had blacked out his Latin King tattoos and was trying to leave the gang life, his family told the Sun-Times.

Charged in that shooting was Randy Blasted, 27, of Midlothian, identified in court papers as a self-admitted member of the Satan's Disciples, the Tribune reported.

Last summer, a man was hospitalized when a bullet grazed his head while he was standing outside the Bridgeport Homes on 31st Street.

In January 2013, bullets were fired into an occupied car parked in the 3200 block of Lituanica. Court records show the Bridgeport man arrested in connection with the shooting was acquitted of several felony charges.

In the wake of Friday's shooting, members of the Bridgeport Citizens Group are urging residents to call 911 to report any suspicious activity. On its website, the group has tips for how to report a crime anonymously.