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Police Beef Up Wicker Park Fest Security After Shooting Saturday Night

By  Alex Nitkin and Alisa Hauser | July 26, 2015 11:40am | Updated on July 26, 2015 4:25pm

 The man was shot in front of this 7-Eleven on Milwaukee Avenue, a fest security officer said.
The man was shot in front of this 7-Eleven on Milwaukee Avenue, a fest security officer said.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WICKER PARK — Police said they plan to increase their presence around Wicker Park Fest Sunday night after a man was shot and injured in Wicker Park early Sunday morning, just hours after the popular street fest concluded.

At about 1 a.m., a 40-year-old man was standing on the sidewalk on the 1400 block of North Milwaukee Avenue when someone walked up and fired shots, according to Officer Jose Estrada, a Chicago Police spokesman.

The shooting happened along a busy stretch of Milwaukee Avenue shortly after Wicker Park Fest, which expected an attendance of 70,000 this weekend, wrapped up its first night around 10 p.m. Many festgoers hit the local bar scene afterward, and there were reports of vandalism in the area.

A security worker from the fest said the man was shot while standing on the sidewalk in front of a 7-Eleven at the northwest corner of Milwaukee Avenue and Wood Street. The shooter was standing in a fire lane across the way and shot at the victim, the security worker said.

Alisa Hauser says some neighbors wanted more police presence:

The man was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition with a gunshot wound to his upper left arm, Estrada said, and no one is in custody for the shooting.

Police said the man is a documented gang member, and they believe the shooting was gang-related.

A spokeswoman from the Special Service Area No. 33, which works with the local chamber which organized the fests, said the Shakespeare District police plan to beef up patrols for the second and last night of the fest Sunday.

An officer from the Shakespeare District confirmed on the phone that "you'll see more of us out there," adding that there is always increased police attention when large street fests happen.

Across the neighborhood, several bar workers who had been working as late as 3 a.m. Sunday in the 1400 block of North Milwaukee Avenue where the shooting occurred were unaware of it.

"I'm not really surprised; it's summertime and people get riled up. I didn't hear anything and was here until 2 a.m.," said Sophie Williams, a bartender at Swig, 1469 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Shop owners on Milwaukee Avenue documented additional damage to the street after the fest in the 1400 and 1500 blocks of North Milwaukee Avenue, including new graffiti covering several storefronts and a window broken at Second Time Around, 1543 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Several stores along Milwaukee, including Brooklyn Industries, were covered in graffiti overnight. [Brooklyn Industries]

A worker at a bar nearby said he witnessed a man use his skateboard to smash the Second Time Around window and then take off running around 12:30 a.m.

Rachel Thomas-Chappell, manager of Brooklyn Industries, a clothing store at 1426 N. Milwaukee Ave., said she and another store employee spent two hours Sunday morning cleaning off the graffiti, using razor blades and three bottles of rubbing alcohol.

"The fest is not good for most of the businesses. It is an excuse to come and drink in the sunshine instead of patronize the businesses,” said Thomas-Chappell. 

Also hit by tagging was U.S. Vintage at 1460 N. Milwaukee Ave. Owner Dominique Dorabi said that his store, which sells vintage boots, shoes, clothes and purses, has not been damaged in about 10 years until Sunday.

"We blame the fest. People screaming, running around all hours, drinking," said Dorabi, who was able to remove most of the graffiti but will have to replace the store’s window glass because the tagger used acid etching and scratched the glass, too.

Jessica Wobbekind, a program manager from SSA 33 was at the fest on Sunday and also noticed the new graffiti: “Graffiti happens often in the area, whether it was related to the fest we don’t know.”

Graffiti covers the side of Cumin restaurant, 1414 N. Milwaukee Ave. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

A window at Second Time Around is boarded up Sunday afternoon after it was broken Saturday night. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

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