12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas discusses moving a police security camera to Hoyne Park alongside Officer Jason Solis and Beat Facilitator Glenn Young at the Wednesday, August 14, meeting for CAPS Beat 912.

Hoyne Park Gang Shoot-Out Preceded Slaying of Neighborhood Teen, Cops Say

Published August 24, 2019

Youth baseball players and parents scrambled for cover during a gang shoot-out at Hoyne Park on Tuesday, July 23, an incident likely linked to the nearby drive-by slaying of McKinley Park neighborhood teen Anthony Finley two days later, police said at the Wednesday, August 14, meeting for Beat 912 of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS).

"It's a horrible thing," said Community Policing Officer Jason Solis. Kids and parents had to "duck and hide away from the gunfire," he said.

12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas attended the CAPS meeting and announced the planned relocation of a police surveillance camera to Hoyne Park in an effort to surveil the area and discourage future violence.

Solis said Chicago Police Department detectives and its gang unit are investigating both incidents, including review of private video surveillance of the July 25 homicide, which took place at an alley entrance behind Edward Everett Elementary School at West 34th Street between South Bell Avenue and South Leavitt Street.

Chicago police have announced no arrests in connection to either Finley's homicide or the Hoyne Park gang shoot-out. The investigations are ongoing, Solis said.

Nearby Gang House

Several neighborhood residents who live near the location of the July 25 homicide attended the CAPS meeting and complained of city and police inaction regarding nearby public gang activity. Gang members have taken over a house, specifically identified by address at the meeting, just down the street from Everett Elementary on the 3400 block of South Bell Avenue, they said.

Problems have included groups of gang members congregating in front of the house, intimidating and threatening neighbors and passers-by, the residents said. All said they have continually contacted the police, but the problems have not been resolved.

"We need people to call so we can establish reasonable suspicion," Solis said. He also noted that the volume of calls makes a big difference to police and city bureaucracy when deciding where to allocate public safety and policing resources.

CAPS Beat Facilitator Glenn Young also noted the use of an outdoor, public "roll call" of police and neighbors to drive gang members from the area. Cardenas and Solis said this is something that can be planned and conducted, with the support of Chicago police and city officials.

Gang Graffiti

The CAPS meeting also featured discussion of the significant and ongoing problem of gang graffiti throughout the McKinley Park neighborhood, including a large, elaborate gang name painted on an often-tagged building at South Damen Avenue and West 36th Street. 

"It took time to have that thing put up," said CAPS Beat Facilitator Glenn Young. He said the graffiti was removed as soon as city crews came on the job the following Monday morning.

"As it comes up, we take it down," Cardenas said.

Crime Increase

Crime incidents have increased for Beat 912, Solis said, following an "incredible" run of very low crime for the neighborhood until recently. From July 10 through August 13, the beat saw 1,694 calls for service, 32 calls for shots fired and 20 arrests, he said.

In addition to the homicide on July 25, violent crimes for the neighborhood included two aggravated batteries, two aggravated assaults and five robberies, Solis said. Non-violent crime included five burglaries and two vehicle thefts, he said.

One local resident at the meeting also spoke of the recent theft of his car's catalytic converter, which was cut out from underneath his vehicle when parked on the street overnight. Solis noted a rash of catalytic converter thefts recently reported locally, including in the adjacent Bridgeport neighborhood.

The next CAPS Meeting for Beat 912 is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 11, at St. Maurice Church hall, 3625 S. Hoyne Ave., Chicago.

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