By Peter Nickeas and Liam Ford
9:08 AM CST, January 19, 2013
Two young men were shot to death during another night of gun violence in Chicago Friday: One inside a well-lit restaurant along a West Side thoroughfare, the other in a dark gangway on a South Side block populated by vacant brick buildings.
The Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen at 5500 W. North Ave. where Marshall Fields-Hall died is fortified: a chain link fence with barbed and razor wire encircles part of the roof near cooling units and thick glass separates the dining area from the cash registers. Food and money exchange hands through small openings at the counter.
Fields-Hall's killer was on foot when he fired four shots into the restaurant from the outside about 9:15 p.m., police said, close enough to the glass window that detectives had to step over shell casings and red tape when they opened the door to get inside. The holes in the glass, spiderwebbed by the impact, were all within a couple inches of each other, and there were bits of glass on a small ledge inside.
Reggie Stiff was working in the back of the restaurant preparing an order when the shooting began. The pops didn't sound like gunfire, he said, but more like "a hammer hitting a table real hard."
He came out from the back and the workers up front were "just looking dazed," he said.
Fields-Hall, 21, who lived nearby on the 1500 block of North Luna Avenue, was unresponsive on the scene when police found him but was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, police said. He was pronounced dead there at 9:55 p.m.
Across the street, separated by three police cars and crime scene tape stretched by strong wind, Fannie White stood with her two great grandchildren, who were playing on a small concrete stoop in front of a boarded-up sandwich shop, running in circles around a brick pillar on the corner of a patio.
"I adopted him as my grandson," Fannie White said. "It's really hard."
White said she wasn't sure how she was going to explain the death to the children, who knew Fields-Hall.
Trese Butler stood next to White and the children, trying to understand what happened after someone had called her to say her friend was shot and that people were talking about it on Facebook.
"He just made 21. We're all trying to piece this together," said Butler, who walked to the scene from her home about a block away. "To me, he's still a baby."
After a couple minutes, the four left together, westbound on North Avenue. The four-lane road with parking on both sides is dotted with liquor stores, sandwich shops and blue-light police department cameras.
"This is the first Friday ever ain't nobody outside," Butler said before she left, adding that the block was usually bustling. "It's very rare. Very rare."
Across town, about the same time Fields-Hall was being taken to the hospital, police found 19-year-old Jovantay Alexander lying dead on his back between two brick buildings in the Back of the Yards neighborhood with a gunshot wound to the head.
Police had responded to a shots fired call and found Alexander where he had been shot. Police said nobody in the neighborhood, along the 5400 block of South Laflin Street, knew the man, who authorities said lived in the 1800 block of East 72nd Street in the South Shore neighborhood. It doesn't appear that he was affiliated with a gang.
A handful of detectives stood over Alexander with large flashlights, examining the rest of his body for wounds and other evidence. A single officer blocked northbound traffic on the one-way street, north of an alley that runs parallel to Garfield Boulevard.
Fields-Hall was the 28th person killed in Chicago this year. Alexander was the 29th. They were among at least eleven people shot Friday afternoon into Saturday morning across the city.
In the other shootings:
• A 35-year-old man told police he "heard shots and felt pain" when someone shot him just before 4 a.m. Saturday morning in the 1600 block of North Sawyer Avenue, police said. The man, who police said was a gang member, was taken from the Logan Square crime scene to Stroger Hospital in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the arm, police said.
The victim had been paroled in 2011 after having served about 18 years in prison on first degree murder charges filed in 1993, when he was 16, according to state records. Police said he is a gang member who was shot at by the passenger in a white vehicle that approached him from the south as he tried to get into his car.
• About 11:35 p.m. Friday, a 26-year-old man was shot in the leg in the 4400 block of South Washtenaw Avenue in the Brighton Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side, Greer said. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition.
• Someone was shot about 10:20 p.m. inside an apartment in the 1300 block of East 75th Street in the Grand Crossing neighborhood on the South Side, police said. The victim was sitting on a couch of an acquaintance's apartment when three or four people knocked on the door. The apartment resident opened the door and jumped out of the way as someone fired. The bullets ended up going through the glass door and hit the man on the couch in the legs and arms, police said. He's in stable condition at Stroger Hospital.
• Someone shot two teens about 9:45 p.m. in the 8400 block of South Constance Avenue in the Stony Island Park neighborhood, Greer said. A 15-year-old was shot in the chest and taken to Comer Children's Hospital in critical condition and a 16-year-old was grazed in the back and taken to Jackson Park Hospital in good condition. Someone inside a passing light car opened fire on the teens, both of whom police said were not affiliated with local gangs.
• Earlier, two men were shot in the Englewood neighborhood. The shooting took place about 7:30 p.m. on the 7300 block of South Racine Avenue and left one man wounded in the back and the other in the foot, police said.
A 20-year-old man with a wound to the back was taken from 74th and Racine in serious condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, and an 18-year-old man with a wound to the foot was taken from 74th and Aberdeen Street to St. Bernard Hospital, where his condition was stabilized, according to Chicago Fire Department Media reports.
• About 6:50 p.m., a 33-year-old man was shot in the 8400 block of South Paulina Street in the Gresham neighborhood on the South Side. He was a passenger in a southbound vehicle when someone opened fire, hitting him in the arm and shoulder area. He's in stable condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center.
• Another person was shot about 1 p.m. Friday afternoon at 2300 N. Mango Avenue in the Belmont Central neighborhood on the Northwest Side, police said. Someone yelled "gangsta killer" and shot him in the upper left arm. He's in good condition at West Suburban Medical Center, police email@example.com
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