WICKER PARK — Stunned people scrambled away from a busy Wicker Park intersection Wednesday evening after a gunman walked up to a man waiting for a bus and shot him in the head, killing him.
The killer ran from the 6:05 p.m. Wednesday shooting at Milwaukee and Division — near the steps to the underground Division Blue Line "L" stop — and is still on the loose.
Onlookers tried to help the wounded man, but he died after reaching Stroger Hospital.
He was identified as Cesar Perez, 19, who lived in the 1400 block of West Division Street, just a few blocks from the shooting, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
The area's alderman, Brian Hopkins (2nd), told residents the shooter was described as Hispanic man in his 20s, weighing about 150 pounds, standing approximately 5-foot, 7-inches tall and wearing a red Chicago Bulls jacket.
He was last seen running north on Ashland Avenue, according to police on the scene.
Hopkins said the murder does not appear to be random.
"The victim was a known gang member, and this appears to be a targeted shooting," Hopkins said.
Wednesday night, blood could be seen on the pavement in front of a food mart and Wigs Plus. Witnesses said the victim was waiting for the bus on the west side of the Polish Triangle (between Division, Milwaukee and Ashland) when he was shot, though accounts differed.
Daniel Olsen, a Bucktown resident, was standing nearby at the fountain when he heard three gunshots.
He looked up and saw a man on the ground, face down, he said. He and two women ran to the victim to help him.
Olsen told the women to call for help and he began to administer first aid.
"We rolled him over. We saw he was bleeding out of his mouth," he said. Olsen tried to get the man upright so he wouldn't choke on the blood. Olsen asked, "Do you hear me?" and the man responded.
But "he didn't look too good," Olsen said. He said he saw two men crossing traffic on Ashland to run away from the scene.
Dan, a 28-year-old Wicker Park resident who declined to give his last name, was coming out of the train station around 6 p.m. "I heard several shots. I ran west whenever the light was green."
He went to a nearby bar and saw an ambulance come. "I am not shocked because it's happened before, but it's crazy it was 30 feet away from me, " he said.
Bernard Townsell, who said he lives across the street on Division, said there are often people loitering in the Polish Triangle plaza "causing trouble."
He recalled that several people have been shot nearby recently — three men were wounded in a drive-by in December, and another man was wounded in the same block in January.
Kim Members was hanging out in the Polish Triangle plaza with some friends and had just walked into a nearby bank when shots rang out. "I saw a bike laying in the ground. It was pretty bad."
She added that the area is a popular gathering spot for kids from nearby schools.
Rita Raichoudhuri, principal of Wells Community Academy High School, 936 N. Ashland Ave., said Perez was a student at the neighborhood high school until he dropped out in 2012.
A joint investigation between two police forces, the Near West District (12th) and Shakespeare District (14), is ongoing. Witnesses to the incident are requested to call 911 with information, Hopkins said.
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