CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago police responded to a report of a break-in at a shelter housing migrants on the South Side Thursday morning.
Officers responded at about 2:15 a.m. to the Gage Park Field House in the 2400-block of West 55th Street.
A 37-year-old victim told police she saw the outline of a gun on the suspect, who broke into the fieldhouse.
Police initially said the suspect was armed with a gun.
The victim said when the suspect was confronted, he fled on foot in an unknown direction.
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No injuries were reported and no one is in custody, police said. Area One detectives are investigating.
Alderman Ray Lopez took a walk with members of the mayor’s office, Chicago Department of Public Health and staffers at the Gage Park migrant shelter after the incident.
“Was this intentional because of the migrants? Was this a mental health breakdown? What was this really about?” he said.
Lopez said the intruder got into the women’s dormitory through a side door that was supposed to be locked, but did not make contact with any of the migrants.
Chicago police said the man pointed his finger at the women inside and then ran off.
“At 2 a.m., while you have women sleeping peacefully, the last thing you need is for some errant man walking into their dormitory yelling and pointing at them,” Lopez said.
One female migrant said the incident put her on edge.
The migrant, from Venezuela, who is staying at the Gage Park shelter, did not want to be identified.
She said she was there when the man got in.
She said, “some women who were headed to the restroom saw someone on the balcony, and the man told us to shut up and not to say anything, and we were scared.”
Lopez said safety at the shelters is a multi-tiered effort among private security, Chicago police and the Chicago Park District.
He said making sure city shelters are secure is critical.
“We need to make sure that when we have a shelter like this, or any shelter for that matter, that we are doing perimeter checks, that all the doors are locked, and that all the stations that are manned are fully manned,” Lopez said.
As the city investigates the matter, the migrant said she is now concerned for her safety.
“I don’t feel safe because if someone can get in, then it can happen again, and what if that time the worst happens?” she said.
Alderman Ray Lopez said in a statement, “Early Thursday morning an unknown individual gained entry to the Gage Park field house facility, entering the women’s dormitory. The intruder did not directly contact any of the residents. He fled and the matter was reported to the Chicago Police. District 008 responded but was unable to locate anyone matching the intruder’s description.
“I have been in constant communication with the Johnson Administration and the local police commander regarding this issue. We will review how such a breach of the premises was possible and what steps need to be taken to ensure this remains a singular event.
“I have conveyed to Mayor Brandon Johnson that the safety of the migrant asylum-seekers and the surrounding community must be our utmost priority. I have asked our partners to hold shelter management and private security agencies to drill this philosophy deep into their daily mission. A breach of this caliber could have ended in a much worse scenario. Thankfully, that is not the case today.
“Police, agencies, and delegate partners will be on deck today for a premises security check “
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