On the night of Jan. 23, a person fired several shots from a gray Nissan Altima driving down North
Clark Street with one bullet hitting a Loyola student. While the Chicago Police Department
(CPD) has not made any arrests in the case, the student continues to recover in the hospital, according to Loyola Dean of Students K.C. Mmeje.
The crime occurred just after the student, a 19-year-old woman, left her friend’s apartment on the 6700 block of North Clark Street around 9:30 p.m. She was walking with a group to a nearby convenience store when they heard gunshots and attempted to take cover in the building they had just left, according to Mmeje.
That was when a bullet struck the student in her lower back.
Mmeje said one of the student’s friends flagged down a nearby CPD patrol car, who was able to call for backup. An ambulance quickly transported the student to Presence St. Francis Hospital in Evanston.
The woman, who was first reported as critically injured, has since been moved out of the intensive care unit, according to Mmeje.
CPD says it believes the woman was not the intended target and that the shooting might be gang related.
This brings the total number of reported shooting incidents in Rogers Park this year to five. At this time in 2015, there had only been one report, according to CPD reports.
The 19-year-old is the second Loyola student to be shot in just over a year. The first student was 23-year-old Mutahir Rauf, who was fatally shot on Dec. 5, 2014 during an attempted robbery. Rauf’s case remains unsolved, according to CPD.
Mmeje, who has remained in contact with the Rauf family, is now communicating with the 19-year-old’s family. He said it is the family’s wish that the student’s name not be released.
“They’ve asked for the community to respect their privacy,” said Mmeje. “They’ve asked us to be very mindful about how her personal, identifiable information is shared.”
Interim President John Pelissero visited with the student and said her “spirits are good.”
In response to the shooting on Jan. 23, 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore said CPD is “saturating” the area near the crime scene with both uniformed and plainclothes officers.
Junior Jacob Voss, who lives on North Shore Avenue near where the crime occurred, said he was surprised to find out a shooting had occurred so close to his home.
“It makes you more conscious of walking home at night, or even during the day,” said Voss, a 20-year-old ad/PR major.
However, Voss said Loyola and CPD are doing what they can to counteract the violence.
“There could always be an increase in presence, but they can’t stop every crime. They can’t be in every single spot at every single second,” he said. “They’re not superheros.”
The scene of the shooting falls several blocks outside of Campus Safety’s patrol zone. Because it is outside the department’s jurisdiction, Campus Safety is unable to extend its patrol to this area. However, Campus Safety Police Chief and Director Thomas Murray said his department is continuing to cooperate with CPD in its investigation.
“Violence occurred and these students unfortunately were around,” said Murray. “They should be able to leave their apartment and not worry about being shot.”
In the nights following the shooting, Loyola increased the number of available 8-RIDE vans, anticipating an increase in requests. However, the number of calls 8-RIDE received between Jan. 23-24 was no more than usual, according to an email Vice President for Student Jane Neufeld sent to the Loyola community on Jan. 25.
The email detailed university plans to finish developing an app that would allow students to track shuttles and 8-RIDE vans. The app is also expected to allow students to request 8-RIDE vans and speak with a dispatcher.
Neufeld also announced an upcoming safety forum in the email. She said the forum would bring together representatives from Moore’s office, Campus Safety and CPD’s 24th District to answer students’ questions about safety both on and off campus.
To further outreach with the Rogers Park community, Moore said Loyola students should attend 24th District CAPS meetings.
“They can hear directly from the officers that patrol their beat what’s going on and what they can do to make sure they are as safe as can reasonably be expected in an urban community,” said Moore.
The next CAPS meeting for beat 2432, which includes the Lake Shore Campus, is on March 8 at 7 p.m., at the 24th District Community Policing Office at 6464 N. Clark Street.