ROGERS PARK — An eruption of gunfire sent late-night diners scrambling for cover along Morse Avenue's strip of sidewalk patios Monday night, witnesses and police said.
"We’re just innocent people trying to enjoy life and make a living," said Craig Gernhardt, who had been on his bike near the Morse "L" stop when he heard eight to 10 gunshots coming from the west about 10:35 p.m.
Gernhardt said bullets whizzed by him and his friend, a bartender at Chuckie's, who was sitting at a table in the bar's outdoor patio. One of the slugs, he said, dinged the back support of an unoccupied chair.
A dent was visible Tuesday morning where the bullet was suspected to have hit.
Officer Jose Estrada, a Chicago Police Department spokesman, confirmed Tuesday that officers received several reports of gunfire about 10:35 p.m. in the 1500 block of West Morse Avenue.
Photos of the scene, taken by Gernhardt, also show several squad cars and an officer inspecting the scene.
Paul Kim, a server at Grill Inn, which also has a sidewalk patio on the street, said he was walking up to a table of customers when he heard the shots.
"After the first two shots, I turned around and saw the two customers drop to the ground," Kim said.
Then, he said, he saw a white Jeep peeling off east down Morse Avenue as his diners "were trembling" in fear.
Kim, of West Rogers Park, said he worries for his customers, especially since Wil Lewis, a bystander, was shot and killed July 12 nearby at Devon and Glenwood avenues. The intended target was not hit in the shooting, police said.
The shooting on Monday was not the first time shots have been fired on Morse Avenue.
Last year, on May 11, a bullet pierced the window of the Common Cup, a cafe at Morse and Greenview avenues, after shots were fired from a stolen vehicle during the daytime, police said.
According to police, no one was hurt in shooting, yet witnesses said they saw a man limp away from the scene.
On March 28, two men were shot in the 1500 block of West Morse Avenue. A woman at the scene said the two victims were her son and grandson visiting her on her 79th birthday.
Gernhardt, who also wrote a blog post about his experience, delivers food for many of the restaurants along Morse Avenue.
He said they all look out for each other.
"We’re friends, and we try to stay alive," he said.
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