Police continue to search today for the gunman who shot and seriously wounded a man near the corner of Michigan Avenue and Ontario Street in what officials are calling gang-related road rage.
The man was shot shortly after midnight Friday after he got out of a black car and used a pipe to break the window of a gray SUV, police said. The SUV then sped off and almost hit a Streets and Sanitation tow truck as it fled west on Ontario and south on Rush Street, police said.
The man, 31, suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen and was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition, police said.
“It’s a road rage incident in which one of the participants involved has some gang relations in his past,’’ said Police First Deputy Supt. Al Wysinger. "You have two guys that seemingly got into some argument or traffic-related incident. They stopped, exchanged words and the person inside the damaged vehicle took offense.
“This could have happened anyplace in the city or suburbs,’’ Wysinger said when pressed about the rare shooting on the Magnificent Mile.
The victim got out of a car as an SUV pulled up and someone inside said, "What are you about?" according to a police report. The victim replied, "I’m not about nothing" and the person in the SUV said "I’m a King," according to the report.
The victim was carrying a metal pipe and used it to break a window in the SUV, police said. Someone inside the SUV fired a shot, hitting the man in the right side of abdomen, the report stated.
Police believe the gunman was referring to the Latin Kings street gang. The victim belongs to a gang and has a long arrest record, police said. The victim's conviction record includes battery to a peace officer in 2003 and possession of a stolen car.
Wysinger said the two cars had been following each other, possibly from North Avenue beach, before stopping on Ontario off Michigan Avenue. Eight people witnessed the shooting and were questioned by detectives.
"I heard the gunshot and turned around," said Roberick Johnson, 41, who's from Hyde Park and was walking on Michigan. "I didn't see anyone running, I just heard them hollering."
Johnson said he heard a single gunshot and saw the man lying between cars on Ontario Street. Police taped off the area using a squad car and a newspaper stand.
No extra patrols are planned along Michigan Avenue because there are already more officers stationed there because of recently approved overtime, Wysinger said.
“We’re not doing anything differently after this incident,’’ he said. “That location will get some additional officers but it won’t be because of this incident.’’