Chaos erupted in downtown Chicago overnight as hundreds of people took to the streets and dozens of stores, banks and other businesses were broken into and looted. It’s unclear what caused the unrest, but many believe it was connected to a standoff between Chicago police officers and community members following a shootout between officers and a 20-year-old man who was allegedly armed Sunday afternoon in Englewood. Many also believe the rioting and looting along the city’s Magnificent Mile, Chicago’s downtown shopping district, was a coordinated attack.
According to CBS Chicago, the pandemonium started around 11 p.m. Sunday and continued until early Monday morning, beginning in The Loop and spreading to the Near North Side.
One video posted to Twitter shows a car smashing into a store in order to allow people to run in and loot.
The owner of Wabash Jewelers told CBS Chicago that the looting “seemed coordinated” because he saw cars drive up and people get out with bricks to break glass already in hand. He also said he saw people run to nearby U-Haul trucks to stash their stolen goods.
“There was no anger,” he said. “They politely told me they were going inside.”
Adel Elbiaadi, owner of Tut’s Convenience—a store that was looted during riots for the second time Monday morning—told reporters that he was warned by looters to leave the store or he would be killed.
“They said if you don’t go, we will kill you,” Elbiaadi said.
It was also reported that at one point during the unrest while police were arresting rioters near Lake and Michigan, someone drove by and shot at the officers. Police returned fire but it was unclear if anybody inside the car was hit. No officers were injured during the fire exchange.
CPD Supt. David Brown disagrees that the widespread looting was a coordinated effort.
“This was not an organized protest. Rather, this was an incident of pure criminality,” Brown told reporters, according to the Wall Street Journal. “This was an act of violence against our police officers and against our city.”
Brown also said he deployed 400 officers to the downtown area and as of Monday morning, more than 100 arrests have been made.
While Brown doesn’t appear to believe the riot was organized, according to CBS News, he said following a shooting and subsequent standoff between cops and citizens that his department is “monitoring social media and we come across a post of a caravan of cars being prompted to go to our downtown and loot.”
On Sunday afternoon, police responding to a call about an armed man reportedly found themselves in a brief firefight with the man.
From Chicago Sun-Times:
About 2:30 p.m., officers responded to a call of a person with a gun in an alley near the 5700 block of South Racine and saw a man matching the description take off on foot, Deputy Chief Yolanda Talley told reporters. During an ensuing chase, the man, thought to be in his late teens or early 20s, allegedly turned to the officers and fired shots.
Officers then returned fire and struck the suspect, who was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in an unknown condition, Talley said. He remains in police custody.
A gun was recovered at the scene, according to Talley.
No officers were injured in the shooting, though Talley said three were being evaluated at a hospital. The shooting wasn’t captured on police body cameras, she said.
About an hour after the shootout, neighbors engaged in a standoff with officers that Talley described as “very hostile.”
“Emotions were running high. They were responding to misinformation,” Talley said.
During the incident, one officer was maced and another suffered a shoulder injury, Talley said. The first officer was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and the other was treated at the scene. A brick was also lobbed through the window of a police vehicle, she said.
Two people were arrested in the aftermath of the confrontation, Talley said.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the use of force.
Earl Allen, the brother of the 20-year-old who was shot tells a different story.
Earl Allen said he and his 20-year-old brother were hanging out at Moran Park, at the intersection of 57th Street and Racine, when they got into a “little altercation” and left. The Sun-Times is withholding the man’s name because he hasn’t been charged with a crime.
As the brothers walked off with a group of people, Allen said someone made a comment to officers in a police vehicle that prompted a pursuit. After the group dispersed, Allen said he returned to the 5600 block of South Aberdeen, where he and his brother live.
That’s when he heard roughly eight or nine gunshots ring out.
“I’m hearing it. I’m like, ‘Oh no, no, no, no. They’re shooting. I hope they ain’t just shoot my brother,’” said Allen, who did not see the shooting.
A short time later, Allen’s wounded brother emerged in a grassy clearing and ran into their home. Fire officials confirmed the victim of the shooting was picked up at the home.
After being shown a photo of a gun recovered from the scene, Allen denied it belonged to his brother and told reporters, “My brother ain’t fired at no police.”