Hundreds of teens cause chaos in Chicago as Mayor-elect urges not to demonize them

The minors, who broke in destroying vehicles and street furniture, clashed with police near Millenium Park, resulting in 2 gunshot wounds and 15 arrests.

Last Saturday night, Chicago authorities reported violent outbreaks by hundreds of teenagers. According to official data, the riots resulted in at least three injuries -two of them gunshot wounds-, 15 arrests (nine adults and six minors) and numerous property damages. Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson noted that "it is not constructive to demonize youth" who staged the incidents.

Aggressions and damages

The youths stormed downtown streets with loud music, smashed car windows, destroyed property, set cars on fire and even attacked pedestrians. The police had to intervene and escort the tourists in the area to their vehicles and hotels so that they could take shelter from the disorder. In statements to Fox, a woman reported that several boys jumped on the windshield of her husband's car and attacked her partner through the driver's side window. The assaulted man had to be transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Next, the group of teens gathered near Millennium Park in downtown Chicago, attempting to enter the park. However, they were turned away by checkpoints set up around the perimeter as entry is prohibited after certain hours to those under the age of 21 years who are not accompanied by an adult. This led the youths to continue their attacks on passing cars.

Two teenagers wounded by firearm

In the midst of the chaos, a shooting broke out, resulting in two teenagers, 16 and 17 years old, being shot and wounded. Both children were treated at Northwestern Hospital and are out of danger. Chicago police reported the arrest of nine adults and six juveniles on charges of reckless conduct. However, a 16-year-old minor was charged with illegal use of a firearm, and two people were charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.

Mayor-elect urges not to demonize assailants

Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson, known to be a strong advocate of the policy of defunding the police, said the city needs a "comprehensive approach to improving public safety."

In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend. It is unacceptable and has no place in our city. However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.

Police investigating the origin of the call

The cause of this massive movement is still unknown. Police are looking into whether it is linked to last Friday's gathering on 31st Street Beach by a group of between 300 to 400 kids who created tension in the area. During this event, smoke bombs and fireworks were reported, as well as a shooting near where they were located.

Police reported that same evening that a 14-year-old boy was shot in the leg in the 3100 block of South Lake Shore Drive and was transported in non-critical condition to the Hospital. As of this moment investigators still do not have details about the teenager's incident, but it is inferred that it occurred as a result of the shooting that was sparked by the mass gathering of teenagers on the beach.