Four Chicago men were shot during a funeral procession through Oak Park, Saturday afternoon. Two were transported to Loyola Medical Center, where one is in critical condition and the other in stable but critical condition. The other two victims received non-life-threatening injuries. No bystanders were injured.
Oak Park police are investigating the incident, which occurred in the 900 block of Madison Street at roughly 1 p.m., June 10. The funeral procession is believed to have been traveling westbound on Madison from Chicago to All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines when passengers in a white pickup truck pulled up alongside one of the vehicles in the procession, according to police. The passengers in the pickup truck reportedly then opened fire, striking two people.
Two people riding in another vehicle in the procession were also shot, sustaining non-life-threatening injuries. Both checked into Rush Oak Park Hospital for treatment.
Police found multiple shell casings at the scene. That area of Madison Street was closed to traffic due to the investigation.
The police department is describing the incident as aggravated battery with a firearm but could not provide any new details regarding the investigation.
In an opinion editorial submitted to Wednesday Journal, Oak Park resident Frank Stachyra recounted how he’d been standing at the corner of Madison and Home Avenue with another pedestrian when the shooting broke out.
“I realized that, had I not had the presence of mind to quickly react and run when I saw the smoke and heard the gunshots, the two cars speeding toward me in the curb lane would have reached me, standing a few feet from the curb, in no more than five seconds, and someone in one of them would have been close enough to have shot me, at point blank range,” Stachyra wrote.
The funeral procession was held for Jamal Goings, a 33-year-old man from Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood who was fatally shot May 23, according to the Chicago Tribune. Goings was reportedly connected to the Guttaville faction of the Gangsters Disciples.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Stachyra described seeing police officers interact with members of the cortege where Madison intersects with Clinton Avenue and how he attempted to report what he witnessed to officers.
“But virtually all of them were directing their attention to pedestrians on the sidewalk, who gave every appearance of being part of the funeral caravan, some of whom were engaged in the most violently angry shouting at each other,” he wrote.
Residents who live near the site of the shooting told Stachyra they heard between 30 or 40 shots, according to his editorial.
Standard protocol calls for funeral homes to notify law enforcement agencies along the route of “potentially high-risk” processions, so police can assist with safety and traffic, but no such alert was provided in this case, according to the village of Oak Park.
“While there is no indication of any further threat to the community stemming from this incident, any act of gun violence such as this does great harm to our collective sense of safety,” Police Chief Shatonya Johnson said in a village news release.
“Our job as law enforcement officials is to bring the individual or individuals responsible for this crime to justice to make clear that senseless gun violence has no place in our community or any community for that matter.”