On this particular night in March of 1992, Kenny and I are still working Bt. 1224, when all hell breaks loose. Cops are calling for help, and you can hear rapid-fire gunshots in the background.We can’t make out a specific location, but we suspect it’s somewhere in the Jets, so we start heading that way.
En route, we are able to make out that Bt. 1231 got caught in the crossfire during a gun-battle between the boys from 1209 and 1239 South Racine, as well as some of the bangers from the Village on the other side of Racine.
Kenny is driving, and I’m holding the radio microphone to my ear, hoping to get some additional information along the way. Eastbound on Roosevelt Road, we use a CTA bus for cover, allowing us to make it to Blue Island, the boulevard that forms the eastern border of the triangle.
With our windows rolled down and headlights off, we’re coasting down Blue Island, scanning the buildings and the surrounding area for muzzle-flashes. Are they sniping from the upper floors, or blasting each other at ground level? It is eerily quiet, and we have no idea where the gunfire may be coming from, but it’s about to become crystal clear in a second or two.
Some kid, maybe 15 or so, is looking straight at me from the playground area of the 1239 building, 50 or 60 yards away. Suddenly, he raises his arms and cuts loose with a whole clip, probably from a .380 or a 9mm handgun. This may be the exact scenario I had prepared myself for, but it still catches me by surprise. Kenny is flooring the gas pedal now, and – instead of returning fire – I find myself sliding down in my seat, hoping the car door will stop whatever it is this kid is firing at us.
Two, maybe three seconds and we’re safe. Now we have to warn the cars that are coming this way from the opposite direction, so they don’t repeat our mistake and catch a broadside volley as well.
With a total of four cars now, we set up shop behind a grocery store on Blue Island, just south of the 1239 building.
Now that we’re able to step out of our car, there is an initial rush of exhilaration as we’re piking ourselves, looking for holes that must surely be there, if not in our flesh, then certainly in our bulletproof vests, but we find none. Hell, we can’t even find any holes in the squad car. Can anyone be that bad of a shot? Can we be that lucky? Well, I don’t have much time to ponder that question…
To Be Continued…