Police: Early morning South East Avenue shots 'not a random act'

Investigation continues after disturbance


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Jean Lotus

Staff reporter

Police say an early morning incident where neighbors reported hearing shots fired Tuesday morning in the 1100 block of South East Avenue was "not a random act."

"We have information that leads us to believe this is not random," said Oak Park Police Commander LaDon Reynolds.

Oak Park police responded around 2:45 a.m. Tuesday morning after residents called 911 to report hearing seven gunshots.

A witness told police she observed an unknown man in a Chevy Malibu parked on the west side of the street shortly before the shots were heard. Police at the scene recovered several shell casings. Bullets struck at least one parkway tree, according to a witness.

"We are increasing police presence in the area while we continue to peel back the layers of this investigation," Reynolds said.

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Reader Comments

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Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: May 24th, 2014 9:30 AM

@ Ruth: I don't question Renees position on crime and poverty. I question her position on redistribution of wealth and ROI from people who obtain government benefits.BTW, I cant find the name of wise man she quoted about redistribution of wealth. Stiill looking.

Ruth from Oak Park  

Posted: May 24th, 2014 7:47 AM

So, let me make sure I understand this. The woman, Renee, who actually works in low income communities, doesn't know what she's talking about, but the rest of you do? Check your facts everyone....most low-income people work hard, follow the law, and pay taxes, despite the very real barriers they face. They also suffer significantly more than any of us from the crime that thrives in their communities.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 5:55 PM

Renee, There is a difference between the upper and middle classes. Members of the middle class don't make enough to keep up with a good lifestyle, and they make too much to qualify for assistance from the government and other entities. This breeds resentment as they are working harder and harder, to live a lesser lifestyle, while lower-income folks are receiving benefits (like living in an affluent community) for nothing.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 5:38 PM

A local Chicago man of the cloth picked up a Budweiser beer distributorship for his son. I did not prosper.Nor did I suffer And I didn't get a deal for my daughter. ."How can we help each other live the best possible life",maybe by paying back to the people who helped you out. So how about it Renee, do people obtaining government benefits, except veterans, need to do community service work?

OP Transplant  

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 5:38 PM

"...to make the statement that you do not want low-income people in your community because they cause violence, is ignorant and classist." Then I'm at a loss to explain why there are higher rates of violent crime in lower income communities. I'm also at a loss to explain my personal experience, which is that the amount of violence in my community went down as I moved into more affluent communities. I know you mean well Renee, but where I used to live we laughed at people like you.


Posted: May 23rd, 2014 5:10 PM

When more people are prosperous, everyone benefits. When more people are suffering, everyone suffers. So the question isn't, how are they repaying society, but rather, how can we help each other live the best possible life? You benefit from all kinds of government services everyday. People that take advantage of the system see the minority. A wise man once said, no one wants to talk about wealth distribution unless it's about redistributing it to the rich.


Posted: May 23rd, 2014 5:07 PM

Poverty is not an excuse to be violent. The point is that they are not mutually exclusive and to make the statement that you do not want low-income people in your community because they cause violence, is ignorant and classist. Mixed income communities are good for everyone. Generally speaking, people living in poverty are suffering and cost you more money to be in poverty so it is in your vested interest as a taxpayer to help them get out of poverty.

OP Transplant  

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 5:02 PM

Renee-If you stay out of trouble, you can serve in the military and go to college on VA benefits. Do well enough there, and you've got a good shot at tuition assistance in grad school. This is how I'm able to have the career I have. I never asked for anyone like you to come into my neighborhood and help me. Help from condescending outsiders perpetuates a sense of helpless victimization. Plenty of guys I grew up with are still there waiting for someone like you to come solve their problems.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 4:39 PM

Thank you, Brian.

Brian Slowiak from Westchester  

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 4:02 PM

"Yes-your tax money contributes to social programs but that is not really you doing anything to actively solve social problems." Thus is the mind set. Don't pay your taxes, prison and property confiscation are not far behind. Should citizens, except ,veterans, who obtain government assistance be required to do community service work in their communities,much like FDRs CCC. and WPA?Crossing guards,library books need to be shelved,liter picked up. How come no one pays back the taxpayer?


Posted: May 23rd, 2014 3:57 PM

I don't understand why poverty is offered as an excuse for being violent. It didn't used to be that way.


Posted: May 23rd, 2014 2:32 PM

Maybe you should be a renter if you can't afford it then. I feel that's what you would say to someone else in the same situation. Yes--your tax money contributes to social programs but that is not really you doing anything to actively solve social problems. It's involuntary & I sense you wouldn't give anything if you had the choice. Communities need people who care enough to help others. Not elitists that judge & complain.

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 2:10 PM

Renee - I help pay for housing through Section 8 and for jails for those who have a problem dealing with living in a civilized society, I help pay for food through the LINK card, I help pay for health insurance through Medicaid, Medicare and for children's insurance through the CHIP program, I help subsidize breakfast lunch at school, I help pay for home energy bills through the LIHEAP program. I help with welfare while I borrow from my 401K to pay my property taxes because I can't keep up.


Posted: May 23rd, 2014 1:21 PM

Okay--great solution then. Put all of the low income Indivuduals in a separate area from everyone else. Isolate them. You obviously do not understand the dynamics of low income individuals. Instead of saying "take them somewhere else", why not say "what can I do to help?" I work in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the city helping low income people with literacy & job skills training. What are you doing other than complaining?

The rent is too d*** high!  

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 1:16 PM

What does this shooting have to do with renting?

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 1:07 PM

OP Transplant - so well said! Just a thought, Renee - How much time do spend in the Austin neighborhood, or Englewood, or Lawndale? Nothing wrong with diversity - when it becomes a threat to the population, that's when it becomes a problem.

OP Transplant  

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 12:53 PM

"...to mask your blatant racism." Renee, don't assume racism. I'm not white and I grew up poor. My desire not to live around low-income people derives from years of living around low-income people. You can't help being born poor, but you can help staying poor, and many low-income people are low-income for a reason. Does diversity require the presence of people with antisocial behavior and low achievement? Do we need a criminal element in the name of diversity?


Posted: May 23rd, 2014 12:09 PM

Is diversity only having two kinds of people? Middle class & upper? Or is it having representation from all classes, races, ethnicities, etc? If you have two--it's not really diversity. That's like having Eastern Europeans & Western Europeans and calling that diversity. Sure they have some differences, but are alike in many ways. Is there that big a difference between upper middle class (50-70,000) & upper class? No. Not really.


Posted: May 22nd, 2014 5:56 PM

Mike Jackson rented his death house for $8 K a month

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 22nd, 2014 5:33 PM

@Renee, You had an earlier comment about causation and correlation. Do you think that the same could be applied here? Can someone prefer to not want to live near low income folks, and not be racist? Also, can "economic diversity," mean $50K or $75K for a household on the low end? Why must "economic diversity" mean just above the poverty level?


Posted: May 22nd, 2014 5:02 PM

@op transplant Actually, mixed income communities are well documented as being great for everyone. All you have to do is google "mixed income community". Don't hide behind the "economic diversity" guise to mask your blatant racism. "Oh?"lots of diversity is great as long as everyone is like me".

To rent or not to rent  

Posted: May 22nd, 2014 12:55 PM

Maybe the shooter and intended victim don't even live in OP. That would make this whole rent vs own debate irrelevant to what occurred.

OP Transplant  

Posted: May 22nd, 2014 12:26 PM

"There are rich renters and there are poor renters." I guess, but this doesn't really tell the story. Home ownership, especially early home ownership, is a key to the generation of wealth. There are relatively few "rich" people who rent their homes. So, areas with a high percentage of rental residences typically also have lower median household incomes, and are prone to the associated social ills, like early morning shootings.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: May 22nd, 2014 12:15 PM

No one is saying an executive renting an $800k house is out shooting up the block. Generally, lower income renters are where the socio issues are more acute. This is why the fuss over apartment buildings, particularly those with Section 8, etc. Same happens with houses at the lower end that are being rented.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: May 22nd, 2014 12:03 PM

(internet sarcasm alert) Then you have those condo 'owners'. Don't even get me started on that. They have to pay assessments (did someone say rent) and can get evicted if they don't pony up. Just a renter by another name if you ask me. Co-ops are even worse... It's almost like they let two home owners get 'married' and combine expenses. It's against the natural order of things. We should look closely at those with 'alternative' ownership agreements. You just can't trust people like that.

You must pay the rent..I cant pay the rent  

Posted: May 22nd, 2014 11:48 AM

There are rich renters and there are poor renters. Whats your point. Many OP homes are rented out at rents much higher than someones mortgage in other communities.

OP Transplant  

Posted: May 22nd, 2014 11:44 AM

While racial and ethnic diversity are wonderful attributes that enhance quality of life, economic diversity simply is not. Ask a school administrator if she longs for more low-income students. Ask a cop if he wants more low-income residents. If any Oak Parker truly wants to live among low-income neighbors, that's an easy and inexpensive thing to do. I did it for the first half of my life, and I'm glad to be done with it.

Real List  

Posted: May 22nd, 2014 11:14 AM

There are many aspects that make up a good neighbor. One of those, as Brad suggests, is vested interest. One of the advantages of renting is you limit your "investment" to a finite period (lease) and can pick up and leave quite easily with minimal financial impact if your situation or the situation around you changes (crime increase). So a renter is typically not economically vested in the overall situation of a neighborhood. Doesn't mean that makes them a bad neighbor, just more likely. #econ


Posted: May 22nd, 2014 9:58 AM

Limousine Liberals live in OP. The wealthiest people in the Dem party are the most progressive.

Winter Skye from Forest Park  

Posted: May 22nd, 2014 9:48 AM

@ South OPer: When I think about OP's future, this is exactly what I am talking about! To actually own a house in OP these days, you have to have the moola to both pay for inflated home prices as well as inflated taxes. So who can afford that? Will it be a social worker or teacher or someone who works at the Board of Trade and watching Faux all day? What sort of attitudes does this person have towards those not as his economic level? The arrogance (which is a product of fear and not knowing oneself truly) is not conducive to creating a neighborly block but rather a cold, judgemental mentality. Is this the OP that you call home? I grew up in a totally different OP. Thank. God.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 22nd, 2014 9:38 AM

@The Brad, I think your bias is against low income people, not renters, considering we have some pricey rentals in this town.// @Uncommon Sense, the government pushes homeownership because they are in bed with big banks who make a ton of money on mortgages, while getting an individual to pay the property taxes and to pay for the upkeep of their (the bank's) property.//So if I have a mortgage, I am not an owner. I am a borrower of lots of money.

south oak parker from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 11:03 PM

Get out of Oak Park then Brad with your snobbish attitude -- oak park has been a multi-ethnic and multi-socioeconomic community for decades. There's plenty of suburbs where you might find a better fit.

The Brad from OP  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 10:30 PM

Some honesty finally being served here. Thank you for the backup, Bridgett. Uncommon Sense and Res253 also preaching the gospel, as they usually do. Bottom line, where there are renters, there are problems. We've seen it first hand, whether it's graffiti, garbage being piled up in the alley for the raccoons to devour, cars coming and going all hours of the night, renters in this area are not vested or committed to keeping the community safe and clean. Go away renters.

The Brad from OP  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 10:27 PM

Loving the Winter Skye "Downfall of Oak Park" agenda in the previous post. The high tax base will never allow our community to become Austin West, no matter how badly you apparently want that to happen. Keep dreaming, sweetheart.

Winter Skye from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 5:37 PM

BradTheCad: Oh yes, please lecture me on costs passed on to renters because you're a homeowner and I've been renting for 30 years. Actually, aside from the first place I rented, every one after that has been over five years. One was over 17 years. You seem very puffed up for someone who makes erroneous statements. Those houses close to Roosevelt also don't go for $600 but I happen to live in River Forest right now (RENTING--GASP!!!!) and the rents around here do not reflect the exorbitant taxes one bit. And the houses around here probably average more than South OP and I am not even in the McMansion district.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 5:36 PM

@Bradcheck, There was an update to this story at 10:50 am, with a note at the bottom saying, "This story has been updated to correct the location of the block where the incident occurred." I just happened to be online around that time and remembered seeing the note. And I just Googled this page, used the cached feature to double-check. (not that I agree with what The Brad writes--at all--but just thought I'd mention the 10:50 am update)


Posted: May 21st, 2014 5:11 PM

Why are you lying, Brad? I read this story yesterday and it clearly said S, which I noticed because it very near my house. Your first post on this article was hours after her last edit. And you posted the 700-800K figure this morning, many posts later. I guess home ownership doesn't necessarily correlate to reading ability, or the humility to admit your mistakes.

All kinds  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 5:06 PM

Not too many minorities go to that music venue up the street. Notice I didnt say performers. Why is that?


Posted: May 21st, 2014 4:31 PM

Do not confusion correlation with causation. If someone said, homeowners are more likely to cheat on their taxes so we should have the IRS audit all of them, you would be up in arms about the injustice. Have respect for all people?"not just those with your same shared experience.

OP Res 253 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 3:53 PM

@OP Tran, likely true. But they might be the ones vaping around your children.

OP Transplant  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 3:46 PM

I agree with Uncommon. The folks paying OP mortgages and the folks shooting up the streets at night are typically not the same people.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 3:05 PM

As a rule, owners tend to take care of their communities more than renters. Even the govt knows this which is why the push to help low income folks become owners. When you are invested in the community, you take care of it. Generally, the lower the income the higher the incidents of violence, etc. This is just statistical fact. While there are exceptions, odds are the shooters/victims are not paying a typical oak park mortgage if they are OP residents.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 3:05 PM

"...it is more economical to own than rent when they plan on being in the same place for more than five years." Actually, this is not always the case. In addition, there are more factors that go into the buying vs renting decision, than merely what is "economical." Making blanketed statements shows a lack of understanding regarding the complexity people's lives and circumstances.

The Brad from OP  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 2:40 PM

Loving Winter Skye's uneducated fillibuster about personal finances though. With taxes high, those costs will be passed on to renters anyway. Most people know that it is more economical to own than rent when they plan on being in the same place for more than five years. Apologies to the transients who haven't saved their money for a down payment. Don't be offended by our success.

The Brad from OP  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 2:37 PM

Original story said 1100 N. East Avenue. Apologies to all of the southside folks. I agree, the housing stock there is less than what I quoted. Jean Lotus on the ball as always.


Posted: May 21st, 2014 1:58 PM

There are no "$700-800K homes" in the 1100 Block of S East avenue. Once again your classist arguments are based on ignorance, fear, and made up numbers.

Winter Skye from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 12:48 PM

Hey there, Bradley! That comment was typical of the snobbery which oozes from OP "owners." I put that in quotes because if you miss your outrageous tax bill one year, see how long you own the home. Home ownership is a myth. In any case, it is tiresome to hear about the riff-raff renters that exist. I wonder what will become of OP...With ridiculous taxes and inflated home prices, coupled with not-insignifcant crime stats, you will see MORE, not less renters. Oh, the humanity!!!

Hey there Brad...  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 11:17 AM

what you're asking for is a lawsuit against your police department and a tremendous waste of manpower. The shooter may live in a single family home five blocks away..then what? No apologies if that offends you.

south oak parker from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 10:02 AM

Having lived around the corner from this block for 2 years, I'm shocked. I walk my dog all hours of the night, lovely block, homes all well kept, nice area. BTW I'm a "renter" and pay quite a lot for the privilege of living in this town.

The Brad from OP  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 8:54 AM

As a STARTING POINT, it would be very easy for the investigators to take a close look at the renters within a 2-block radius of that location. Home owners = established/proven; renters = not established/unproven. Apologies if that offends you.

The Brad from OP  

Posted: May 21st, 2014 8:52 AM

Carla, get your head out of the sand. It's not a slam on all renters or advocation of all owners. There are no absolutes. My point is that this is a very affluent area ($700-$800k homes). Most people owning a home here are established in what they do, in character, in behavior. Meanwhile, we find the home renters around us have more transient approach and behavior. We've witnessed this on our own block w/ the one foreclosed home being rented. Cars coming night & day, teenage boys up late..

Dope Parker  

Posted: May 20th, 2014 11:45 PM

quaint and affluent. We get remaindered every so often that thugs are in our town with guns, but it seems like the party mindset is to ignore and forget this because people don't want to come across as bigots. What ends up happening is they give everyone the benefit of doubt even if some strong reflags pop up. And then these thugs feel like they can come here and do as they please. In a way, villagers are also enablers.

Dope Parker  

Posted: May 20th, 2014 11:36 PM

Joe is right. We are right next to Austin, and these types of things will continue to happen periodically because of that fact, until Austin gets cleaned up, which it won't, with no thanks to Rahm. There was a gang shooting in broad daylight that spilled over to Division and Culyer in '06. People got freaked out, and then forgot about it. And then something else happens, and then people forgot about it etc. It's easy for people to forget what's across the boarder when their town looks cont.

Carla from Oak Park   

Posted: May 20th, 2014 9:34 PM

@the Brad. Your comment regarding renters is a stereotypical remark. Are you saying that people who own homes aren't violent or don't do drugs?

Steve from Oak Park  

Posted: May 20th, 2014 3:29 PM

Because it won't count in the crime statistics for this year.

The Brad from OP  

Posted: May 20th, 2014 3:27 PM

Any reason why this story is hidden now?

joe from south oak park  

Posted: May 20th, 2014 2:46 PM

We do butt against the Austin neighborhood where this sort of thing is a common occurrence and there isn't a magic barrier that prevents it from happening here. luckily nobody was hurt, but this should serve as a good reminder that folks need to keep their eyes open and report suspicious activity when they see it. Hopefully police can piece things together and catch those involved.

Winter Skye from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: May 20th, 2014 1:53 PM

Clarification: I mean that this ALSO happened in BER-wyn! OP needs to really figure out what caused this because it's not cool.

Winter Skye from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: May 20th, 2014 1:52 PM

This happened in Berwyn. Do you know how terrifying it is to wake up to multiple shots fired in the alley below your bedroom window? And then to have the cops collect half a dozen shell casings? Having grown up in OP, this was unacceptable to have to experience. Although we stayed seven more months, we did move after being in Berwyn for almost two decades...

Dope Parker  

Posted: May 20th, 2014 1:46 PM

Makes me feel so much more at ease knowing that the bullets that could potentially go into my home and strike my family, were the result of 'not a random act'. So what non-random act is this? West side gangbanger revenge? Dope deal gone bad? Someone looked that someone the wrong way? Does the reason even matter when bullets are flying around? Glad I know crime is at a 40 year low in Dope Park.

The Brad from OP  

Posted: May 20th, 2014 1:35 PM

Would be interesting to take a look at all of the people renting homes within a one block radius and begin the investigation there.

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