Sisters shot while waiting for a nighttime walk outside Gold Coast bars were innocent bystanders, police say

GOLD COAST — Police have charged a Kankakee man after two women were shot while waiting for a rideshare pickup on a crowded Near North Side street early Saturday morning.

Jermaine T. Purdis, 37, has been charged with one count of unlawful use of a weapon. Judge Barbara Dawkins set bail at $15,000 during a hearing on Sunday.

The shooting happened around 3:15 a.m. Saturday as bars closed on the 100 block of West Division Street, the bustling Clark and Division stretch of nearly a dozen bars and clubs.

Officers dispatched to the neighborhood heard gunshots coming from around 10 W. Division St. They ran to the scene and saw Purdis running behind a car and down the street with a gun drawn, the police said. prosecutors.

“Officers grappled with the defendant, and at that point the defendant dropped the firearm to the ground,” a prosecutor said.

Officers recovered the gun – a loaded .380 Walther caliber pistol, prosecutors said. Purdis does not have a concealed carry license and is a convicted felon, prosecutors said.

Police said in an initial report they found two victims at the scene, aged 29 and 26. The 29-year-old victim suffered a scrape on the left side of the head, while the 26-year-old victim suffered two gunshot wounds. left leg and buttocks. Both women were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in good condition.

Purdis was not charged with shooting the victims. Police did not immediately respond to further questions about whether the suspected shooter was in custody.

A police spokesman said on Sunday the victims were bystanders and not the targets of the gunfire.

“They were waiting for a rideshare driver when they heard the offender arguing with other people and they heard gunshots and felt pain,” the spokesperson said in an email.

A neighbor who lives just north of Division who heard the gunshots said her mother knew the victims, who are sisters.

A lawyer representing Purdis said he was in town to attend a cousin’s funeral and had previously worked as a forklift operator.

Division bar workers on Saturday said they heard about 10 gunshots. With the recent spike in violence in the area, bars and nightclubs that close between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. are under the spotlight. Aldus. Brian Hopkins (2nd) argued for revoking the city’s 5 a.m. late-night licenses, while business leaders said bars aren’t the problem.

As crime plummeted across the city in 2022, shootings in the 18th Police District, which includes parts of the Near North Side, are up 82% from the same time last year, data shows. of the font. The district has seen 31 shootings in 2022. It had 17 during the same period in 2021.

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