Killing Season Chicago, Wicker Park, July 2011

Click on the names of the deceased on the right navigation panel to see images of the sites and information about the circumstances of their deaths.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Homan & Iowa - Humbolt Park

As of Monday, I had one more location to photograph in order to have an image of each of the 172 sites of a homicide in the City of Chicago between Memorial Day and Labor Day of 2010. Most of the project was completed by November of 2010, but a few more homicides crept into the statistics as the following year proceeded. X and I shot those new locations the following summer and re-shot some of the other locations for various reasons. This last site was one we stumbled upon while fact checking and making sure we covered everything.

The location was at 3359 West Iowa Street in Humbolt Park. The homicide never made it into the media, so I have very little information about what happened there. I do know that the victim's name was Carl Anderson and that he was 27 years old when he was killed. He was shot while he was in a vehicle at the intersection of Iowa and Homen. I do not know if the car was parked or if he was driving at the time.

Having worked on the West Side for a long time, X knew the spot and was weary of going there without an on-duty police officer. We talked about getting someone in a car to come and meet us, but didn't have much luck the past few trips out. We finally cleared our schedules and were set to go and photograph site on Tuesday.

In the meantime, Elizabeth Brackett from WTTW's show "Chicago Tonight" got in touch with me and wanted to do a story about Killing Season. They arrived and filmed at my apartment on Monday. As I was telling Elizabeth about the project, I mentioned having one more site that I would be photographing tomorrow. Her face lit up. She asked if it was possible to go and shoot it while they were with me. I explained to her that we hadn't been there yet because it was a pretty rough corner, but that I'd check in with X and see if he could help. It was overcast and was beginning to rain, so X told me to go over there and see what it looked like. If it was busy, he told me to go out to Chicago and Pulaski and he'd call someone to come in and meet us.

I got my camera and tripod and got in the car with Elizabeth. The camera man followed in his van just behind us. As we drove further west, the rain began to come down harder. When we arrived at the address, it was very quiet. I noticed a few men sitting in an open garage just out of range of the rain. As we walked up to the site, one of the men came out and walked along side us. He told me that we should be careful and that this was a dangerous place. He told me that there were lots of drugs and that people were getting killed. I nodded and told him I knew. I asked him if he lived around there. He pointed to the building on the corner behind him and said he'd lived in the neighborhood for 57 years and in that building for 30 years. As he was saying all this a young boy no older than 10 walked by all alone, wet from the rain, sobbing to himself. I set up my equipment and began to photograph while they filmed for the show. The man stood on the corner in the rain and watched the whole time. After we were there for about 10 minutes, people began to come out. A few people seemed to be neighborhood residents interested in what we were doing there and a few appeared to be hypes coming out to buy drugs. Whether we were there or not, the corner was coming back to life.

X was concerned for us, so I texted him and let him know we were back and that everything was fine. We set up a time to go back there the next morning so that I could properly photograph the location.

We headed there at about 10:30 the next day. It was a beautiful morning, so everyone was out enjoying the last of summer. The block that was so quiet in the rain yesterday was bustling with people. There were 3-4 young men across the street sitting on chairs just off the sidewalk chatting. One of them was getting his hair done, there were several young men on the porch of that house as well. Up the street a group of teenage boys flooded out onto the sidewalk from another front porch. The three men that were in the garage yesterday were in the backyard of the same house today.

X pulled up across from the location. When he got out, the man that I talked to yesterday walked up to him and said, "You're not here to buy drugs, are you?" X said he was not and told the man that he worked here. The man told X he would call the police. X, who had his badge and gun showing told the man he was the police. The man finally noticed the badge and laughed, thanking X. He said that the police had been doing a good job cleaning the area up and that things were getting better, but it was still a bad corner. He chatted with X about the neighborhood while I photographed, and mentioned that he did remember someone being killed there. As I was finishing up, a man and a woman were walking down the street and they stopped to talked to the man talking to X. They were really friendly and asked what I was doing, and then tried to buy a cigarette off of the man. The man, knowing X is a cop and knowing that selling individual cigarettes is illegal, volunteered to just give them a cigarette. I was happy to see that in this place that was supposed to be the most dangerous corner that we visited were a lot of nice, friendly people and that there were only a few bad people around.