Officials said there were no reports of widespread unrest overnight in the Lake County area after rumors of planned gang retaliation shootings circulated on social media Friday.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli told Lake and McHenry County Scanner on Saturday that there were no reports of unrest.
In an apparent email sent by local activist Margaret Carrasco to city officials in Lake County, Carrasco said “word on the street” is that there were planned retaliation shootings Friday evening.
The email said that “orders to their foot soldiers” is to “barge into every bar and restaurant” and shoot opposing gang members.
At least eight people were shot, one fatally, in four separate shootings across Waukegan and North Chicago Wednesday evening.
The spree of shootings come after an 18-year-old man was fatally shot outside a Waukegan apartment complex Tuesday evening.
Covelli said Friday evening that extra sheriff’s deputies and detectives were deployed.
Many local police departments, including the Waukegan Police Department, also deployed extra officers.
Covelli said there was no credible information at the time to indicate widespread civil unrest.
“Nonetheless we continue monitoring and are prepared,” Covelli added.
Many residents expressed concern on social media and some bars and restaurants closed for the evening.
Naval Station Great Lakes said in a social media post at the time that there were “multiple reports that indicate gang activity is positioned against the communities of North Chicago and Waukegan.”
The naval station directed its personnel “to use extreme caution and limit potential exposure to venues that could be targeted.”
The Zion Police Department told residents to report any suspicious activity.
“We are unsure of the validity of these rumors, however due to recent incidents we believe that vigilance and awareness should be encouraged,” the department said.
Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor released a statement Friday morning, saying she is “disturbed, sad, and frustrated” by the recent shooting sprees in her city.
“Acts of violence like Wednesday’s shootings cannot and should not be tolerated in any civil society,” Taylor said.
She vowed to work with the Waukegan Police Department to “do everything we can to get to the bottom of the causes of these violent incidents and proactively work to prevent them from occurring in Waukegan.”
She urges anyone with information on the recent shootings to call the Waukegan Police Department’s tip line at 847-360-9001.
North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham echoed Taylor’s reactions Friday evening and said he is bothered and disappointed by the “senseless violence.”
“It is time that we as a community take a stand against the violence and work together with our police officers to put an end to the senseless shootings and acts of gang violence,” Rockingham said.
“I want you to know that I stand with the men and women of the North Chicago Police Department, and every elected official in the city of North Chicago to do everything within our power to end this senseless violence.”
He is also asking residents to report anything out of place and contact the North Chicago Police Department’s tip line at 847-596-8740 if anyone has information on the recent shootings.