Police are investigating if shootings that occurred at a South Side residence in the early morning hours of Dec. 31 may be a gay-related hate crime.
Two masked individuals armed with semi-automatic weapons kicked open the doors of a home on the 7900 block of South Woodlawn and started shooting up a party attended by mostly gay Black males. Six people were shot when the gunmen opened fire on about 100 partygoers about 5:30 a.m. Two suffered serious injuries.
The police Civil Rights Unit is helping to determine if the shooting was a hate crime, but it has not been classified as such yet.
'Detectives are talking with witnesses and victims,' police spokeswoman Monique Bond told Windy City Times on Jan. 2. 'There's not enough information to support the hate-crime theory. However, there are a few more people who investigators are looking for.'
All six of the victims ( who were between 19 and 35 years old ) were taken to area hospitals. Two were listed in stable condition with gunshot wounds to the chest. The other victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
In various interviews, local residents commented that the place was known to host gay events. During one interview with a local TV station, one person said that the neighborhood is straight and that gays should live in the suburbs.
Ken Gunn, first deputy commissioner of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, condemned the crime. 'The first thing that entered my mind is, 'How sick is that?,'' he told Windy City Times. 'We're all sickened and saddened by it. For us, the shootings are deplorable—and are more disturbing if they were motivated by discrimination based on sexual orientation.'
Gunn said that the commission has talked with the police department but added that more needs to be done. 'We need to talk about doing outreach in the community, now that there is [ possibly ] this element of fear,' he said.
Father Tommy Avant Garde, of Chicago's House of Avant Garde ( a ball culture house ) , told Windy City Times in an e-mail that he and other people plan on talking with aldermen while the issue 'is still fresh.'
'We don't want the gay residents to feel like that they have to run from their homes,' he added, fearing that—because the situation involves young African-American same-sex-loving men—it will just 'blow away.'
Windy City Times contacted 8th Ward Alderman Michelle Harris but she had not responded by the time this issue went to press.
Anyone with information should contact Calumet Area detectives at 312-747-8271.