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Residents Feeling Shaken And Helpless North Of Howard After Deadly Shootout

By Linze Rice | August 30, 2017 5:37am
 Eleven people have been shot in Rogers Park this year.
Eleven people have been shot in Rogers Park this year.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

ROGERS PARK — Rogers Park resident Fabiany Herrera wasn't home in the early morning hours of Aug. 20, when a drive-by shooting left two people wounded and a man dead just outside his building — but his Airbnb guests were. 

When the visitors awoke to the sound of at least 20 rounds being fired around 4:30 a.m., captured on the unit's security camera, the guests picked up their things and left. 

"I don't blame them," Herrera said.

What the visitors heard was the gunfire that claimed the life of Remus Campbell, 32, and injured a man and a woman, both 23. 

The three were shot in the 7700 block of North Ashland Avenue during what's been the Far North Side neighborhood's worst shooting so far this year. 

One bullet from the shooting went through the window of a neighbor's ground-floor condo and lodged itself in a bedroom headboard, Herrera said. No one was hurt in the unit, he said.

A car parked on the street was riddled with bullets in the shooting.

The shootout has left neighbors who live in the area north of Howard — the northernmost pocket of the neighborhood bound by Sheridan, Juneway, Howard, Rogers and Evanston's Chicago Avenue — shaken and feeling helpless, but not surprised that the shooting happened.

Of the 11 people who have been shot in Rogers Park this year, eight happened north of Howard, including the community's only two homicides this year

Police and neighbors have called it a hot spot of gang activity and retaliatory shootings between sparring factions in other parts of the neighborhood, as well as gangs in other neighborhoods across the city.

Prompted by the recent triple shooting, a group of residents met privately with 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore on Monday to express their concerns.

(Story continues below)The sound of gunshots was captured on one home's security camera. [Provided]

A car was riddled with bullet holes after a recent shooting in Rogers Park. [Provided]

A bullet went through the window of one neighbor. [Provided]

Herrera said he realized it was a "complex" problem and didn't lay blame on any entity in particular, but said that he and others feel "abandoned" by the city when it comes to curbing the crime. 

Herrera said he calls 911 and has attended community police meetings, but doesn't feel it's helping enough. 

"We just feel abandoned," Herrera said. "It feels like we've just been left at the mercy of this war that's going on in Chicago."

"I'm not blaming the police because I know they have a lot of things to do and it's complicated ... but it seems like nothing changes."

Donna Conroy, who has lived in the 7700 block of North Ashland Avenue for 19 years, was also among the group of neighbors who met with the alderman. She said her group's only request was a squad car that would eventually be permanently stationed at Ashland and Juneway.

She said the group plans to meet with the district commander in the next several weeks.

Moore acknowledged the North of Howard area has been "a challenge," and that it is a "central focal point" for the Rogers Park Police District (24th).

The proliferation of guns and joblessness opens the door to making gang life accessible, Moore said. Couple that with building managers who fail to crack down on problem tenants and a mistrust between some residents and police that causes an unwillingness to share pertinent information, and crime persists, he said.

"We constantly work with the police and we've been meeting with some of the property owners that need encouragement to do a better job," Moore said. "We've made a lot of progress ... but as the recent incident also bears out, there's still work to be done."

"Unfortunately police can't be everywhere all at once. ... We're continuing to put pressure on landlords in the area to do a better job."

Aside from calling 911, Moore said he encouraged the residents who met with him and other neighbors to attend community policing meetings.

He also suggested organizing positive loitering events, such as neighborhood walks and sit-ins at local parks.

Despite the ongoing violence, shootings in the neighborhood have actually decreased in recent years. 

In 2014, 38 people were shot, seven of which died. The following year, the number of overall victims rose slightly to 40, though two fewer people died from their wounds, according to crime data analyzed by DNAinfo.

The neighborhood saw a dramatic drop in shootings in 2016, when the number of shooting victims was nearly cut in half at 23, three of which were shot fatally.

Numbers for 2017 so far are similar to those of last year: one more person has died from being shot this year as compared to this time last year, though three less people have been shot overall. 

However, shootings that have happened this year have largely been clustered in the North of Howard area.

By this time in 2016, only one of the 14 people shot in the neighborhood had been in the area north of Howard, as compared to this year's eight.

In the meantime, Conroy said her group is "determined" to make progress in the neighborhood they love, and in the aftermath of the most recent shooting have been united as neighbors unlike ever before. 

"There's momentum ... everybody feels like we can do something," Conroy said. "There's determination. We're going to do the right things to make positive change."