Hundreds of people swept through a downtown area of Chicago known as Magnificent Mile and other parts of downtown early Monday, smashing windows, looting stores, attacking police officer and at one point exchanging gunfire with officers, authorities said.
More than 100 people were arrested as of 9 a.m., according to Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown. Thirteen officers were injured during the unrest, including a sergeant who was hit by a bottle. A civilian and private security guard were shot and wounded.
“What occurred in our downtown and surrounding communities was abject criminal behavior, pure and simple,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “And there cannot be any excuse for it. Period.”
City officials said the seeds for the violent crime spree were sown on social media Sunday afternoon following an officer involved shooting in the Englewood neighborhood. Officers shot and wounded a 20-year-old man Sunday after he fired shots at them while being chased, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The man who shot at the officers was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center and is expected to survive, Superintendent Brown said.
More than an hour after the shooting, police and witnesses said a crowd of about 30 people faced off against officers holding a police line near 56th and Aberdeen streets. Authorities said someone fed false information to the angry group, including that police shot and wounded a child.
During a scuffle, one officer was hit with pepper spray and a second officer suffered a minor shoulder injury. Two people were arrested and a police car was shattered by a brick, police added.
A large number of officers cordoned off streets in nearly every direction until the mood of the crowd cooled off. But by that time, Brown said, messages began appearing on social media encouraging people to head downtown.
The looting and vandalism began shortly after, with people streaming in and out of high-end stores. Some could be seen throwing merchandise into rental trucks and other large vehicles before driving away.
“This was not an organized protest,” Brown said. “Rather this was an incident of pure criminality. This was an act of violence against our police officers and against our city.”
The looting began shortly after midnight as people darted through broken store windows and doors along Michigan Avenue carrying shopping bags full of merchandise. Cars dropped off more people as the crowd grew.
One woman with shopping bags in her hands fell on the sidewalk as an officer was chasing her. Another woman appeared to have been pepper-sprayed. A rock was thrown at a squad car.
At least five guns were recovered from the rioters, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The scene was reminiscent of the looting and senseless rioting that occurred earlier this summer amid the response to the the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police.