Driver killed at Gage Park street takeover may not have been a participant, alderperson says

Driver killed at Gage Park street takeover may not have been a participant, alderperson says
Driver killed at Gage Park street takeover may not have been a participant, alderperson says

A driver who was shot to death early Sunday during a “street takeover” in Gage Park may have been trying to drive through the crowded intersection when he was killed, an alderperson says.

Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) said he was briefed by police on the Cinco de Mayo shooting at 59th Street and Western Avenue, a wide street that he said has now seen at least two takeovers this year.

“It appears the victim was not participating, but was trying to push through and was maybe shot because of that,” Lopez said Monday. He said police were still trying to confirm that detail.

The events, sometimes publicized on social media, draw dozens of drivers who block intersections and perform drifts and donuts. The fatal takeover on Sunday, which Lopez said was not related to Cinco de Mayo celebrations, drew more than a dozen vehicles that blocked the busy intersection.

According to Chicago police, officers responded to the intersection about 3:20 am and found the man with several gunshot wounds. Police said the man was shot through the windshield while driving the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

He was identified as Guillermo Caballero, 20, of West Englewood, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Chicago police said he was one of seven people killed in gun violence over the weekend, which also saw 24 people wounded.

Video of the incident shared by the crime blog CWB Chicago shows a crowded intersection with dozens of cars when the shooting occurs.

Police would not confirm that Caballero was killed during a street takeover, but Lopez said this marks at least the second fatal shooting during one of these events in two years. Three people were fatally shot during another street takeover in October 2022, when gunfire erupted overnight at Archer and Kedzie avenues.

The City Council took action against the rise of illegal drifting events by passing an ordinance that allows police to impound cars that were identified as having participated in them. Street takeovers haven’t been happening at the rate they were in 2022, but that doesn’t mean the city shouldn’t take more serious action against offenders, Lopez said.

“We haven’t peaked to our previous levels, but at the same time we shouldn’t wait until they do,” Lopez said. “Waiting for them to run out of gas and impounding vehicles doesn’t work. …No one has a right to take over a street and attack residents for using it.”

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