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Mobilize Against Violence in Uptown Tonight

By Olivia Leigh in News on Sep 11, 2007 9:51PM

As we briefly noted in the Extra, Extra last night, two homeless men were shot in Uptown over the span of 24 hours last week. Sadly, early on Monday morning, yet another person was added to the list of those who have been murdered in recent days in the neighborhood.

2007_09_uptown.jpgTo give a recap of the tragic violence that has occurred:

  • Phillipi Larrnarri, 32, was sleeping on a park bench when he was shot in the head in what appeared to be a random shooting early on Thursday morning. The wound would lead to his death at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center later that day.
  • The other victim from last Thursday, James Lane, 29, was shot around 1:30 a.m. while leaving the Sylvia Center, an interim housing center for families in the neighborhood. Police said he was seen arguing with another person prior to the shooting.
  • Early on Monday morning, Mario Bell, just 25, was shot and killed while he was walking with his girlfriend, who was able to dodge bullets and flee the scene. The Tribune reported that police said an orange taxicab pulled up next to the couple, a man got out, and without saying anything, shot Bell in the head.

Although the Tribune article attempts to offer some opinions about what has sparked this latest wave of violence in the rapidly changing neighborhood, citing residents who attribute the acts to frustrated, struggling residents being forced out of – and into – Uptown, nearly everyone agrees that the violence is unacceptable.

If you’d like to do something to help the community and have the ability to stay up a bit late this evening, you may be able to help. One of our writers received an email from Stephanie Sideman, a case manager at EZRA Multi-Service Center. She and other concerned residents are pushing for increased police presence overnight and for the DHS on Sheridan to remain open 24 hours. In the meantime, Sideman hopes to mobilize a “community presence” this evening on the block of Wilson and Hazel.

“If we do not have enough police officers patrolling,” she said, “then I think the community needs to patrol this block.”

If you’d like to lend your support, volunteers are requested to help patrol the area this evening. Groups will meet in front of EZRA (909 W. Wilson) at 11 p.m. and midnight, and we’re told caffeine and snacks will be provided. Police are aware of the efforts and will be checking in on volunteers, and a representative from the Jesus People church will be walking with the group, as well.

Photo by abmarfia.