Chicago alderman resumes campout near open-air drug market

A South Side alderman temporarily halted his publicity campaign to have the city address an open-air drug market in his ward after a weekend shooting occurred a block from where he was camping out in a vacant lot in West Englewood.

Ald. David Moore, 17th, said he resumed his efforts Monday, one day after the members of his staff packed up their campground that they established Friday in the 1200 block of West 73rd Place to get the city to address an open-air drug market in the area.

Moore said he was not the target of the shooting but did say he overheard a group of people talk about hurting him shortly before it occurred.

He said he hit the ground when he heard shots fired from around the corner.

Preliminary information from CPD shows two people were wounded in a drive-by in the 7300 block of South Ada Street at about 1 a.m. Sunday. A 48-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman were both shot in the face and taken to University of Chicago Medical Center in serious condition, police said.

Moore said a volunteer then heard one of the people on the block tell someone else to get their weapons and that someone had said to him that “if we (were) on our street, this wouldn’t be happening.”

Moore said a volunteer later heard someone say, “When these police leave, we’re going to shoot this alderman.”

Moore said his staff insisted on leaving the block around 4 a.m. Sunday, though they returned later in the day “to check things out.”  They saw police on the block Sunday, he said.

When he came back again Monday, “it seemed like they were trying to set up again and we set my tent back up,” he said.

Moore first said he would be camping Friday to highlight an outdoor drug market he described as “infesting” the block and interfering with residents’ lives. A young woman was shot in the head and killed at West 72nd Street and Ada Street on June 9. 

On Friday afternoon, Moore and his staff set up a small camping tent and table offering ward materials in a vacant lot on f West 73rd Place.

To the west of the block, on South Ada Street, a large group of people could be seen motioning cars through the intersection and directing traffic. Moore said the group were drug dealers and that ordinarily, the car traffic traveled east-west across 73rd. 

“They’re going to be out here all night, till three in the morning,” he said. 

Moore said his hope was that his campout would spur CPD and state and federal law enforcement to crack down on the market. 

In the meantime, he said, he wanted his presence to “disrupt” the people he said were selling drugs. 

Moore was preparing to file a police report about the threats he and his volunteers overheard late Monday afternoon, he said. Police said Sunday that no one was in custody in connection with the shooting and that detectives were investigating.

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