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Promontory Point Gunfire Reports Have Hyde Parkers Worried

By Sam Cholke | May 1, 2014 8:01am
 Neighbors are worried about violence in the coming warmer months after gunfire was heard coming from Promontory Point on Friday night.
Neighbors are worried about violence in the coming warmer months after gunfire was heard coming from Promontory Point on Friday night.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARK — Hyde Parkers who live along the lakefront are worried it could be a rough summer after witnesses said they heard multiple gunshots fired at Promontory Point last weekend.

Residents and workers in the area said they repeatedly called police after seeing several groups of young men jumping on cars and fighting on Friday night. Many said they called again after hearing what they believed were gunshots from across Lake Shore Drive at Promontory Point.

"There was lots of testosterone in the air," said Luis Roman, who was manning the front door at the Jackson Shore Cooperative on Friday night.

He said he called the police at 10:30 p.m. when he saw a group of about 20 men in their late teens to early 20s arguing and walking toward the building at 5490 South Shore Drive that is home to doctors, lawyers and University of Chicago professors.

"They were making a lot of ruckus, that's for sure, that's when I called the police," Roman said.

Laura, a neighbor who asked not to use her last name, said she saw the same group of men go around Jackson Shore and start jumping on cars in a parking lot between the cooperative and the Shoreland Apartments, 5454 South Shore Drive.

"It was bodies moving so fast, jumping on cars, smacking each other," Laura said.

She said she also called the police, but the group quickly ran west down 55th Street.

Jerome Anderson, who was working the front door at the Parkshore Cooperative at 1755 E. 55th St., said he heard some of the people in the group yelling about how someone had gotten beaten up.

Anderson said he called the police but things quickly quieted down. He said he went out for a cigarette before relieving Roman at Jackson Shore at 11 p.m.

While Anderson and Roman were outside Jackson Shore, they said they heard what sounded like four gunshots from across Lake Shore Drive and saw people come running out of the pedestrian tunnel that connects the lakeshore to East Hyde Park.

The Point is the playground for many South Siders. Though it has hosted luxurious parties like last year's wedding reception for filmmaker George Lucas and Ariel Capital Investment President Mellody Hobson and their celebrity friends, it has also been the site of tragedy. Many neighbors remain wary since the shooting death of Northern Illinois University student Aeyanuna Rogers on the lakefront near the Point in 2011.

Neighbors feared the worst when they heard what they believed was gunfire Friday.

"You could tell it was gunshots, even the people walking toward the Point turned around," Roman said, adding that he jumped in his car and left.

Anderson said he ducked back into Jackson Shore and locked the door.

"I was just trying to get in from outside, period, they were getting wild out there," Anderson said.

He said he called the police again, but didn't see a squad car come by until midnight, when most of the people had already left.

Bob Mason, a spokesman for the University of Chicago Police Department, said university officers responded to a report of a disturbance at 10:40 p.m. in the 5400 block of South Shore Drive on Friday night, but found nothing when they got there.

Chicago Police officers from the Wentworth District said they were now working with neighbors to investigate the incident. A spokesman for police News Affairs could not immediately confirm whether any report had been filed on the incident.

Roman said the police were usually diligent about watching Promontory Point.

"This season has been pretty peaceful," Roman said. "Maybe it was just one of those heat-of-the-moment things. I hope so."