The shooting of a 33-year-old man Friday night pulled a crowd of angry people onto a chilly South Side street where they loudly called for retribution against the man suspected of the killing.
About 100 residents of the apartment complex where Kevin Sanders was killed circled the front door of a building where the alleged shooter had holed up. The suspect, who police said had been shot in apparent retaliation, had gone there after the shooting. It's not clear what set off the violence.
Sanders, 33, had been shot about 11:10 p.m. in a courtyard between buildings in the 8700 block of South Burley Avenue in the South Chicago neighborhood. He was pronounced dead at Advocate Trinity Medical Center about midnight, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.
Jocelyn Wardell, who identified herself as the stepmother of the man killed, said she had seen him earlier Friday evening and that he had been shot five times.
Red and yellow tape stretched from building to building and from tree to tree, blocking access to the courtyard from all directions.
Some residents, whose front doors were inside the crime tape, stepped quickly out and ducked under the tape to leave. Others stood in small half circles, watching detectives who arrived together in three cars and fanned out to look for witnesses.
Down the block, the crowd gathered.
Word had spread after detectives arrived that Sanders' shooter had himself been shot – by an unidentified person who reacted in retaliation to Sanders' slaying, according to police – and had gone to a friend's apartment with a gunshot wound to his leg. The person who shot the suspect is not in custody, police said.
Nearby, a folded walker sat next to a car belonging to the wounded suspect's girlfriend; its front and back windshields had been smashed out by someone using the walker as a cudgel, police said.
Groups of bystanders tucked their hands in pockets and raised their hoodies to avoid the overnight chill, joining the group that had been yelling for the man inside.
As the residents stood on a sidewalk behind a fence separating them from the grass apron around the apartment, an ambulance backed up to the front door.
Dozens of officers stood between the squat brick building and the fence, a shield between the suspect and residents who were shouting threats, often in angry obscene language, and had earlier thrown rocks and bottles at the building once they heard the suspected shooter was inside. Some of the officers appeared nervous.
"I should have killed your (expletive) last year!" one man shouted from behind the fence, moments before police, who had formed a wall blocking a view of the suspect, hustled the wounded man out and into in an ambulance which quickly sped away with a police car leading and following. The suspect was taken to Advocate Trinity Hospital.
At the brief sight of the man being led out, some raised their phones, in hopes of capturing a photograph of the scene. Others raised their voices, shouting violent threats against the suspect.
One woman shouted that the crowd should tip the ambulance: "Turn that (expletive) over!"
Most expressed disapproval of Sanders' death and said he was loved throughout the neighborhood.
"Make your point, shoot him in the leg, shoot him in the arm, but to kill him?" asked Cassandra Smith, who lives across the street.
"Bring that (expletive) out," another person shouted while complaining that the man they believed responsible for killing Sanders was getting police protection.
Family friends said Sanders, of the 8900 block of South Mackinaw Avenue, played drums, sang at a nearby church and had several children.
Police said Sanders died at the scene but was taken away in an ambulance to avoid further angering the crowds that had gathered.
About ten minutes after police removed the suspected shooter, the angry mood rekindled as an argument between two men turned into a beating. One of the two asked the other to repeat what he said before hitting him with a closed fist until the man stumbled and fell next to a curb.
When he hit the ground, the man that hit him walked up and kicked him in the head several times.
The man on the ground lay motionless for several minutes as police gathered around to reestablish order. He moved his arm and rolled onto his back while police stood over him. It’s not known if any arrest was made in the beating.
As the crowd dissipated, a young woman's protests went unnoticed.
"We grew up together, we don't fight each other!" she shouted as she walked away from the scene.