Neighborhood shootings discussed at CAPS meeting in Cornell Park

George Kotnour, Jr. of the East Hyde Park Committee asks a question during a 2nd District Beats 233, 234 and 235 Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (C.A.P.S.) meeting in Cornell Park, 5473 S. Cornell Dr., Wednesday, June 20.  Dangerous traffic, loitering, the recent homicide that took place near the Falcon Inn and an aggravated assault resulting from an incident at Promontory Point were among the issues discussed at the meeting, which was attended by over 80 neighborhood residents and business owners. – Marc Monaghan

Staff Writer

Officers from local Chicago Police beats briefed a number of residents about crime, notably the shooting last Friday night at 53rd Street and Cornell Avenue, at a special Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meeting Wednesday evening at Cornell Park, 5473 S. Cornell Ave.

The change of location from the basement of the Treasure Island grocery store, 1526 E. 55th St., was to address Cornell Park’s identification as a “problem area” where gang activity like drug dealing is taking place. But the Friday night shooting that left one man dead and three injured took a position of importance alongside residents’ concerns about traffic conditions in Hyde Park.

Officer Marcus Moore said a man who was recently released from prison and had come to Hyde Park to visit his mother, was the intended target of the Friday, June 15 shooting by unknown suspects, with others being shot “by mistake.” Moore called the shooting “an isolated incident, because the target was known by these individuals” and identified the gang at the center of the incident as the Titanic Stones.

“When he came back, they didn’t agree, and so this is how they handled the disagreement,” Moore said.

Officer Colleen Carcione said that the murdered man was a friend of the intended target. Officers later confirmed that the shooters were outside of the neighborhood and that detectives were working on the case. They said they did not believe the June 15 homicide was related to other recent shootings in Hyde Park.

In response to community concerns about loitering in Hyde Park, Carcione discussed the difficult nature of enforcing open container laws (water bottles may in fact be spiked, she said, but still appear to be water bottles) while still encouraging citizens to call the police when the need arises. Officers later said that loiterers tend to leave once police come, whether or not arrests take place.

Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (C.A.P.S.) Officer Colleen Carcione discusses loitering and the recent homicide that took place near the Falcon during a 2nd District Beats 233, 234 and 235 Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (C.A.P.S.) meeting in Cornell Park, 5473 S. Cornell Dr., Wednesday, June 20.  Officer Carcione restated the need for area residents to report incidents and concerns to the Chicago Police Department (CPD) through 911 calls as the CPD responds earnestly and quickly when the call data indicates a recurring or widely recognized problem – Marc Monaghan

“Regardless of how small it may be, any kind of suspicious activity, give us a call,” Moore said. “Then you put it on us to come out and handle the problem.”

Civilian CAPS coordinator Howard Niden stressed that Chicago Police are data-driven and will concentrate efforts on both the number of calls they receive and the number of crimes in certain areas.

A man who identified himself as the owner of the Falcon Inn, 1601 E. 53rd St., but refused to give his name and a woman who identified herself as Tonya and the manager of the bar who refused to give her surname said the shooting was unrelated to their business. The owner said that the bar has barred some people from the establishment but that problems arise when people congregate outside of it. Carcione told him to call police if loiterers were blocking the entrance to the bar.

Acting Police Commander Dion Boyd identified another major incident as an aggravated battery that occurred Monday, June 18 on 56th Street. There was a verbal altercation at Promontory Point, after which four unknown Hispanic suspects beat an unknown man “pretty bad.”

The next CAPS meeting will take place Wednesday, July 18 at Treasure Island, 1526 E. 55th St., in the basement community room at 6:30 p.m.