Three young men who police say belonged to two different gangs walked into Roseland Hospital overnight with gunshot wounds, each shot within blocks of each other in a pair of West Pullman neighborhood attacks.
Two, 19 and 22, were shot in front of Charles Kirkland's home in the 11700 block of South Lafayette Avenue about 2:30 a.m. Kirkland and his girlfriend were sitting on their front porch after hosting a barbecue and were winding down their night when they heard gunfire.
The shots, Kirkland said, were fired from a couple houses down.
"If it was from (down the block), it would have had the sound of some distance," he said. These pops, seven of them, were close and loud, he said.
A disco ball sitting on an end table inside their living room spun shining orbs of color on the front door and out into the street as police outside hung yellow tape and waited for an evidence technician. Kirkland leaned on his railing, smoking a cigarette, and watched police work.
He turned and locked his steel door before stepping off the porch and walking a couple doors down.
The block was mostly dark, though a security light at Songhai Elementary Learning Institute flickered on and off, casting an occasional glow on the school's playground. Many of the houses were vacant and bore signs of neglect: broken windows, boards where glass should be, or a sign with a red X attached to homes to warn firefighters that the buildings are unoccupied and dangerous.
Kirkland said the two people shot had only been on the block for a few minutes when the shooting erupted. They pulled up in a white or gray van, stood outside listening to music, and tried to flee when the shooting started about two doors down from Kirkland's home.
The shooter or shooters were apparently on foot, police said. The two men shot said they didn't see the anyone, just the muzzle flashes.
"They were sitting there for a minute," Kirkland said. When the shooting started, "they grabbed their buddies and got the (expletive) out of here."
Two tried to run down a gangway, putting a house between them and the shooter. They jumped in the van and showed up at Roseland Hospital, less than a mile north, moments later.
"They scattered," his girlfriend Angelica Coleman said. "One looked like they was limping."
Police said the younger of the two was shot in the left leg, near his buttocks. The other was nicked in the hand.
The other man shot, 27, drove himself to Roseland Hospital after two men walked up and opened fire. He was sitting in his car in the 300 block of West 118th Street and was hit just once, in the leg. That shooting was about a half-mile west of the Lafayette shooting, on 118th Street.
"It's been plenty of police rope-offs" over there, said Kirkland, 25, who moved to the neighborhood within the last two years.
All three victims are expected to survive, police said. The two shot on Lafayette identify with one gang, police said and the man on 118th Street with another. Police aren't sure if the two shootings are related.