STREETERVILLE — More police could be coming Downtown after a fatal shooting Sunday near Ohio Street Beach, the latest episode in a rash of recent violence near some of Chicago's busiest tourist destinations, the neighborhood alderman said.
Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) told constituents in an email Monday that an underpass connecting to the beach could also be closed overnight after a 25-year-old woman was shot dead nearby early Sunday. Reilly said in the email that he contacted police, various city departments and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to request a "significant increase in police visibility" and other changes after the homicide, the first of the year Downtown.
"Please know that I take any crime committed in Downtown Chicago very seriously and my office works diligently to secure more resources to preserve and improve public safety in the 42nd Ward," Reilly wrote. "I am committed to leveraging all available city resources to improve local safety, like more police cameras, improved lighting, underpass gates or other options."
Reilly wrote that he asked the Chicago Park District and city Transportation Department to close the beach underpass at Ohio Street and Lake Shore Drive from midnight to 6 a.m. during the "warm weather months." The beach closes nightly at 11 p.m., but the Ohio Street underpass and others connecting to the beach remain open around the clock.
Reilly said he also asked the city's electricians to survey existing street lights in the area, and another city department will examine the prospect of new, discreet security cameras along Ohio Street, Inner Lake Shore Drive, and the underpass, he said.
The alderman said he recently met with Emanuel and his staff to "urgently" request more overnight police patrols on the block as well as along the Riverwalk, Lakefront Trail and elsewhere in Streeterville.
"Especially during weekends," Reilly wrote.
The requests come after Raven Lemons, 25, of Lawndale was shot in her head about 2:40 a.m. Sunday near the underpass in the 500 block of East Ohio Street. Lemons later died from her wound at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Police have not identified a suspect in the killing, the first so far this year in a Downtown neighborhood.
The fatal shooting occurred less than three days after a man was shot in the stomach across the street from Millennium Park. Another man fired shots early Saturday inside the Clark and Division Red Line station before getting caught one stop north, and two men were shot during an argument June 11 on the Riverwalk. Another man foiled an attempted robbery last week on Lower Wacker Drive by shooting at the men holding him up.
Reilly said he would update constituents on the status of his requests aiming to improve public safety in the neighborhood. Spokespeople for various city departments could not be reached late Monday, and police said that the department does not disclose deployment strategies.
Debby Gershbein, president of the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, said via email that the neighborhood group trusts that Reilly's plan will "continue to keep Streeterville one of the safest neighborhoods in Chicago."
"We appreciate Ald. Reilly's quick response and action plan to protect the Streeterville neighborhood," Gershbein said. "We believe this weekend's shooting Is an isolated, unfortunate incident."