Evanston man shot, injured

Elise Foley

Liam Berry was one of two people working late in the office building on 1124 Florence Ave. when three gunshots were fired outside, said his mother Cinda Berry.

“They went out and found a woman standing over a man,” said Cinda Berry, who also works in the building. “The sulfur was still in the air, and she looked up and said ‘Who are you?'”

At about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, an Evanston man was shot in front the building on Florence Avenue. The man suffered several wounds, but the shooting was not fatal.

Berry’s son called the police, who were on the scene five minutes later, she said.

After that point, residents and office-owners said they knew little about the shooting. Cmdr. James Elliot of the Evanston Police Department said he could not verify whether the victim’s injuries were all gun shot wounds.

Elliot said EPD increased their presence on Florence Avenue, as is usual in the event of a shooting.

“We also have our gang and narcotics people,” he said, adding that EPD could not speculate if the shooting was gang-related at this time.

One day after the incident, Florence Avenue was quiet and cold. Houses line most of the block, with a small cluster of offices of photographers, architects and designers, including the one where Berry works. She said the incident seemed out of ordinary for the area, where she has owned an office since 2000.

“I guess today you don’t know where you’re really safe,” Berry said. “But it’s not as bad as this incident would call attention to, it’s really a quiet neighborhood, normally.”

Sheila Wharton, a 14-year-old student at Nichols Middle School , said she found out about the shooting when police knocked at the door of her house Tuesday evening to notify her family. She and her family live less than a block from the scene of the shooting.

Wharton and her friends always walk home from school in groups because they think the neighborhood is dangerous.

“I’m still scared, I’ve got to keep my whistle on me, and my phone,” said Sierra Brown, 12, Wharton’s teammate on the school basketball team.

Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste (2nd) said many residents worry about safety in the area. Jean-Baptiste will host a meeting Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Robert Crown Community Center, 1701 Main St., to discuss the shooting.

“It breaks the peace in that community,” he said. “People have been fighting for a long time to maintain and uphold decent quality of life and this kind of situation spreads panic and gives people a sense of insecurity. The address from which this incident happened is an area that many in the community have been concerned about.”

Until more is known about the shooting, however, there is little the neighborhood can do to prevent future incidents, he said.

“We don’t even know what motivated it, police didn’t apprehend anyone,” Jean-Baptiste said. “Until we know the specific cause, we won’t know how to resolve it. The community has certainly been vigilant. In every neighborhood it’s really about maintaining vigilance and trying to be proactive.”

Megan Crepeau, Brian Rosenthal and Danny Yadron contributed to this report.

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