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Video: Chicago beach closed within hours after opening when gunshots erupt; Gov. Pritzker deploys 'peacekeepers' in anticipation of Memorial Day weekend violence
Twitter 16th & 17th District Chicago Police Scanner Video Screenshot

Video: Chicago beach closed within hours after opening when gunshots erupt; Gov. Pritzker deploys 'peacekeepers' in anticipation of Memorial Day weekend violence

The city of Chicago opened all 22 area beaches on Friday morning. However, one of the busiest beaches was closed only hours after opening because gunshots rang out.

Chicago's North Avenue Beach opened at 11 a.m. on Friday. Police responded to several shots fired around 1:26 p.m. in the 1600 block of North Lake Shore Drive at the North Avenue Beach.

Video shows two groups of teens angrily confronting each other before gunshots erupt. There were approximately 100 people in the area when the shooting occurred. Video shows the windows of a Chicago Park District truck shot out.

WLS-TV reported, "The nearby Latin school said in an email to parents that students were gathered for is annual Olympics Day game when the police SUV sped through the park. No kids were injured, but the incident was alarming."

The Chicago Police Department said there were no injuries reported. Police did note that several people were taken to the hospital to be treated for intoxication.

The North Avenue Beach was immediately closed, as was the nearby bike path.

WBBM-TV reported, "Police said a group of young men got into a fight on the beach when someone pulled out a gun and started shooting."

Police arrested a 15-year-old boy, who they claim was the shooter. The suspect was charged with one count of aggravated assault discharge of firearm, and one count of criminal damage to property worth $500 to $10,000, both felonies.

Police did not find the gun used in the shooting.

"The person who fired the weapon was observed," said Interim CPD Supt. Fred Waller. "He was taken into custody after a very, very short foot pursuit. Another subject in the same area was also observed running away with a weapon and he was taken into custody. Two weapons were recovered from him."

The shooting happened less than 24 hours after newly-elected Mayor Brandon Johnson, a Democrat, unveiled a plan to attempt to combat violence during the Memorial Day weekend.

"In preparing for Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer in Chicago, it is critical that we have as many stakeholders as possible at the table to ensure peace and safety on our city's streets," Johnson said.

In anticipation of Memorial Day weekend violence, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced the deployment of 30 "peacekeepers."

The initiative called the Citywide Crisis Prevention and Response Unit (CPRU) will send peacekeepers into Chicago streets to "provide essential assistance in de-escalation, conflict resolution, and crisis support across Chicago."

The Illinois Department of Human Services said of the Citywide Crisis Prevention and Response Unit: "The Office of Firearm Violence Prevention is working to aggressively implement strategies that advance public safety. The peacekeepers serve as first responders in their communities. FLIP has a track record of success and the State is doing its part to ensure these individuals are properly resourced."

The city is reportedly funding the peacekeepers with funds that were originally dedicated to the pandemic.

Despite having strict gun laws, Chicago has a reputation for widespread gun violence during Memorial Day weekend.

In 2020, there were 49 people shot and 10 were killed despite there being a stay-at-home order in place at the time.

There were 37 shot and three killed in 2021.

Last year, 51 people were shot and nine killed in Chicago.

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