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Lakeview Shooting Likely Stemmed From Drug Deal, Sources Say

By Ariel Cheung | August 3, 2016 8:58am
 Neighbors rushed to aid a man they found shot in an alley at Belmont and Racine Monday evening.
Neighbors rushed to aid a man they found shot in an alley at Belmont and Racine Monday evening.
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DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung

LAKEVIEW —  White pills found at the scene of a Lakeview shooting Monday evening suggest the violent incident stemmed from a drug deal, multiple sources said.

A 27-year-old man was critically injured after he was shot in his neck, but his condition stabilized over Tuesday. Police confirmed the shooting was likely drug-related and are continuing to investigate. No one is in custody as of Wednesday morning.

The victim, who is expected to recover, has refused to speak with police, suggesting there was "something else going on," Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said Tuesday night.

In June, the victim was arrested for drug possession in Oak Park, police records show.

Previous media reports cited the victim's lack of identification as evidence he was robbed before the shooting. But police said the shooting was not random. It was also the second shooting in Lakeview in three days.

Officers returned to the scene Tuesday, working with employees of the BP gas station at Belmont and Racine to pull video surveillance footage from the station's recording system.

Chicago Police received surveillance video footage Tuesday from a gas station near the shooting of a 27-year-old man in Lakeview the previous night. [DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung]

Nearby, Letty Murphy scanned the surveillance video from Murphy's Red Hots, 1211 W. Belmont Ave., hoping to find something useful for police.

The shooting "got me unnerved," Murphy said. "It makes me weary and worrisome — we don't see that happen that close, so I'm really shocked."

The shooting was a stark departure from the close-knit neighborhood she knows after 29 years in business. Murphy said having it "in your own backyard" brings an element of reality to what many neighbors perceive as a rise in crime, despite the recent increase in police manpower.

That closeness between neighbors was part of what saved the victim, witness Nick Notorangelo said. He and his wife had just returned home to the 1200 block of West Melrose Street from a funeral Monday night, and Notorangelo was outside smoking when he heard gunfire.

"I heard a really loud pop, very sharp and distinct — and I knew right away," Notorangelo said. "You know the sound of a gun."

Notorangelo ran through the alley and almost stumbled over the man sprawled face-up. The victim's flip flops had fallen off his feet, and his hand still clutched a Powerade bottle, Notorangelo said.

"His eyes were wide open, very dilated, and his mouth was wide open, really weird," Notorangelo said. Looking down, he saw a nickel-sized wound on the left side of the man's neck.

RELATED: Lakeview Shooting Leaves Man Hit In Neck At Belmont And Racine

Notorangelo reacted instinctively, pulling from what he'd learned from family members who work in the medical field.

"My brother always told me to scream at them, 'You're going to live,' because it gives them reason to hold on, even if they're in really deep shock," Notorangelo said. Others arrive to help, and Notorangelo looked up to realize he knew who lived in the house above him.

He shouted up to his neighbor Elaine Osgood, whom he'd met a few months back when she organized the Taking Back Lakeview crime prevention meeting. Osgood threw him some towels to stop the bleeding and put pressure on the bullet wound.

Notorangelo, 54, knew a radiologist and a plastic surgeon lived a few doors down from him, and he raced to their homes as Osgood called 911 and others wrapped a towel around the victim's neck.

Paramedics arrived and rushed the 27-year-old to Illinois Masonic Hospital. When Notorangelo visited later that night, the victim's father said his son vaguely remembered Notorangelo's pleading with him to hold on and assurances that he would not die.

Surgeons told the family that had the good Samaritans not put pressure on the wound, it's likely the victim wouldn't have survived, Notorangelo said. But the Lakeview resident said he didn't react differently than any decent person would have.

"I have a son that's 21," Notorangelo said. "And when you're a dad and you've got this kid in his 20s on his back, shot in the neck, you hope that if it happens to your son, somebody helps them."

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