Peter Ziegler of McCaffery Properties Management threads yellow caution tape through planter holders as a Kilwins employee sweeps broken glass off the sidewalk Tuesday, Nov. 9. 

Multiple men fired gunshots on the 1500 block of E. 53rd Street near Harper Avenue around noon on Tuesday. No injuries were reported. Several local businesses and parked vehicles were damaged. 

Scanner reports and eyewitness accounts suggested either two or three men committed the shooting; police could not confirm an exact number, but put the time of the incident as approximately 12:02 p.m. 

The men fled in a grey Honda. Nobody is in custody at this time. A University of Chicago Police Department alert said that the vehicle had been reported stolen on Nov. 8. 

Jahmal Cole, a community activist running for Congress in the 1st District, was on 53rd for a meeting at noon. He was standing in front of Virtue Restaurant, 1462 E. 53rd Street, when he heard gunfire. 

"I heard shots, I heard a lot of machine-gun shots and I took off running north on Harper. I didn't feel like I had a lot of time so I dove under a black car, I hurt my knee and got scraped up," he said. Cole also scraped his neck. 

"All of a sudden you could hear the shots ring off," said Woodlawn resident Shawn Robinson, who was loading clothes at Harper & 53rd Launder Koin, 5230 S. Harper Ave., at the time of the shooting. 

"I couldn't tell you much else from there. We all ran to the back of the store and then you saw all of the commotion outside. People running in different directions." 

When Robinson later ventured out of the laundromat, she discovered that her car had been struck at least three times by bullets, shattering the rear window of the vehicle.

The bullets hit at least two other cars parked along the street. as well as the vestibule of Hyatt Place, 5225 S. Harper Ave., whose manager declined comment, and an entranceway window at Kilwins, 5226 S. Harper Ave.  

Kilwins co-owner Jackie Jackson said that she had pushed back the store’s usual noon opening time today to 1 p.m. because of this past weekend’s Daylight Savings shift, otherwise it would have been open and staffed when the shooting happened. 

Following the shooting today, all six employees at the store asked for transfers to another location because they no longer feel safe. Jackson is considering whether to extend the business’s lease when it comes up for renewal next year; she has been in the current location since 2012. 

“Hyde Park the community has been very supportive of me. I’ve never taken a salary in the entire 10 years,” she said. “We deserve to have nice things in the community. This is very tough for me, just in terms of I may have to possibly close if I can’t get the proper rent.” 

Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Wallace Goode, interviewed in his office across the street from the shooting, said that his group will host a seminar next week on business safety and security, but also pointed to a need to look for larger-scale solutions. (The seminar will take place over Zoom on Nov. 17 at 9 a.m.) 

“The war on crime, the war on poverty, the war on drugs turned most Black and brown neighborhoods into war zones. It’s happening, and the question is, ‘What is our strategy to address it?’”, Goode said. “I haven’t heard anyone address it in a very holistic way.”

Cole, who runs the nonprofit My Block My Hood My City, said the shooting showed the need for stricter gun laws and federal funding to help with systemic issues. "As the leader of a nonprofit there's only so much you can do — we can't nonprofit our way out of this," he said. "We need Congress to pass gun control laws.

"We need to have a convo, this should not be reality. This is a reflection of lots of things, racial and economic injustice — those are the perfect conditions for gun violence."

Marc Monaghan contributed reporting. This story has been updated to include an interview with Cole. 


Christian Belanger graduated from the University of Chicago in 2017. He has previously written for South Side Weekly, Chicago magazine and the Chicago Reader.

(5) comments


I was just off Harper on 54th street when a similar gun battle went down. This area has drug traffic related gun violence - some shady residences.

We need a zero tolerance policy to illegal gun possession and hard drug trafficking. Yeah, NIMBY - it's considered a bit selfish, but that's life in our big, mean city.

Folks, our Chicago is on pace for over 800 murders and 3,500 shootings this year. This ain't Lake Wobegon MN.

Even some once super safe places in Minnesota aren't very quiet and safe now.

You/we don't have to become MAGA Trump supporters are go stockpile a lot of military type guns. We can and should do the time tested things of being good neighbors, be alert, observe and report but don't engage.

We have trained CPD and UChicago police - support them, let them do their jobs.

And please folks, let's stop making excuses for inexcusable behavior. Car Jacking, looting, and getting in to gun fights in the early afternoon these are not "Civil Rights". They are just plain wrong.

Our State's Attorney and top crime judge Tim Evans (former decent alderman from Kenwood) are simply letting young violent criminals off without punishment.

That's got to change.


MAC has helped to change this community. Do a better job in screening your tenants.


What does this comment mean?


Please with the "we need tougher gun laws"...Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the country already.


I think the "we" doesn't refer to Chicago but to the areas where Chicago criminals get their guns. It's not likely to happen any time soon, however.

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