Police: Mag Mile shooting a road rage incident
June 22, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- An apparent gang-related shooting took place Thursday night along the Magnificent Mile, just steps from some of Chicago's most exclusive shops and restaurants.
One man was shot in the stomach and rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
"People normally feel safe when they come to Michigan Avenue, so that's definitely a red flag for tourists, for people walking, shopping. It's just showing that things are getting out of hand," said Maurice Osborne.
A 31-year-old man was shot and critically injured at Michigan and Ontario at 12:30 Friday morning.
Police say the incident was gang-related act.
"It's possible that one or both members were gang members, but just because they were gang members does not make this a gang-related incident," said CPD's Al Wysinger. "At this point, with the information that we have, it looks like a road rage-related incident."
We're told the incident started at North Avenue Beach.
Bullet casings steps were away from the city's tourist and shopping district. The area was still bustling with people at the time of the shooting, which alarms Alderman Brendan Reilly.
"Any incident is one too many and that's why I continue to petition superintendant McCarthy to make the downtown area a priority for police resources so that it's safe for people who live downtown and those visitors who come to this great city as tourists," Reilly said.
"We don't necessarily know where it started at this point, but we do know that they were or seemed to be following each other for a length of time and this happened to be the end point."
Managers at the nearby Lawry's Restaurant said they have regular meetings to give workers safety tips.
"We had a full staff safety meeting less than a month ago about safety outside, leaving the building, leaving in pairs, not walking with a cell phone," said Todd Johnson. "Just really being aware of your surroundings."
Down the block, at Sushi Tai Yo manager Miguel Ramirez said the area is changing, and had an incident a few months ago when a group of kids walked in, distracted customers and robbed them.
Since then, Ramirez and his workers stay on high alert, making sure their customers are always protected.
"We are aware of what's going on always, so we never let people just walk in that look like they are up to no good, especially when they are in groups," Ramirez said.
Fraternal Order of Police union president Mike Shields says this latest shooting is a reminder of the need for more officers.
"This is the city of Chicago," Shields said. "You look at Michigan Avenue and you never think in a million years that something like this will happens and it is happening, because there is a direct correlation between a manpower crisis on the Chicago police department and violent crimes."
With shootings on the rise during warm months, Shields said there could be more problems to come.
Police have interviewed several witnesses that were in the area at the time. They are also looking at footage from security cameras in the area. No one is in custody.
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