Police are investigating a series of apparently random gunshots fired in a residential neighborhood on the village’s north side late Sunday night. There are no signs that anyone was injured or that any property was damaged, Chief James Ryan said, but the discovery of a half-dozen shell casings on a quiet street will prompt additional patrols in the area.
“Obviously, there’s always concern when criminal activity occurs,” Ryan said.
Investigators were called to the 100 block of Marengo Avenue shortly before midnight on Aug. 12 after at least one neighbor in the area called police to report that a gun had just been fired. A witness reported seeing two men leaving the scene, but a search of the area yielded nothing, according to a police report filed by the responding officer.
Investigators did, however, find six 9mm shell casings in an alley just east of Marengo Avenue. One of the spent shells was found at the rear of 120 Marengo Ave. and five more “immediately behind” 114 Marengo Ave., according to the report.
The brief police report contains few details on the incident and Ryan said at this point investigators have more questions than answers.
“There isn’t a lot to go on,” Ryan said.
Residents of the neighborhood said the street is generally quiet and people are on a first-name basis with one another. Mary Witte has lived at 114 Marengo Ave. for nearly 20 years with her husband, and said the neighbors are pretty good about spotting things that seem out of the ordinary. She pointed to an incident of gang graffiti on a nearby townhouse as a somewhat remarkable event.
“No, I don’t see anything [that would explain the shooting],” Witte said. “I could tell you the name of everybody that lives in every single house.”
Witte was sleeping when she said she was awakened by the gun blasts and remembered asking her husband if he heard the noise. He assured her it was just kids in the area, she said, but Witte went to the window to see if police were responding. The absence of sirens led her to believe she was overreacting, and she returned to bed without calling the police.
“I asked my husband, and he said it was fireworks,” Witte said.
Next door at 116 Marengo Ave., Steve Kleps said he, too, was roused from a sound sleep, but dismissed the disturbance.
“I said, it’s kind of like gunshots, but it’s got to be fireworks,” Kleps said.
The two neighbors, after being informed by a reporter that police were investigating a shooting, leaned on the chest-high fence that separates their backyards Monday and shook their heads in disbelief. Just a few steps from where they stood, police found the cluster of five shell casings.
A few doors down at 122 Marengo Ave., Jerry Jacknow, who also heard the shots ring out, said he called police immediately.
“It was one shot and there were several repeated shots,” Jacknow said Monday afternoon.
After reporting the incident that night, Jacknow said he also called the police station in the morning to see what investigators had discovered. He said he was told they were looking into the incident.
The last time a gun was fired in one of Forest Park’s residential neighborhoods was some 18 months ago, Ryan said, when a shooter on the south side fired a weapon into a porch and damaged the structure.