Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl issued a statement this evening decrying recent violence in the city and saying the incidents are being vigorously investigated by the police.

Here’s the text of her statement:

The series of violent acts that have occurred in Evanston over the last couple of weeks are unacceptable.  While we grieve with our local families over their losses, the entire Evanston community has been shaken.  Our children are concerned for their safety and all residents are questioning this unusual period of events.

The circumstances of these violent acts are well known to the Evanston Police Department and are being vigorously investigated by EPD and our local law enforcement partners.  This recent violence involves a continuing dispute between two extended families that have ties to gang related violence.  EPD is using all available resources to apprehend those responsible.  These investigations are being conducted in such a manner to insure those responsible are brought to justice.

We have too many guns in this community.  We must work together to get guns off the street through buy-back programs and other means until local jurisdictions have the authority to enact real gun control legislation.

I have every confidence that Police Chief Eddington and members of the Evanston Police Department are doing what is required to end this period of violence and to keep all of us in Evanston safe.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. No guns in Evanston but marijuana is OK

    Three young men shot to death on Evanston streets in the past several months all involving gang disputes.

    Folks, this is bad. Evanston property values probably will be negatively affected.

    Love to know what kind of gun control the mayor has in mind. Remember the Supreme Court just reversed a state ban on concealed weapons.

    Does anyone have a problem with the fact that Evanston decriminilazed marijuana possession under 10 grams? What kind of message does that send to gangbangers who make a living selling drugs? I had  heard a rumor that police found a small amount of marijuana in the posession of Dajae Coleman's murderer shortly before the shooting.

     The mayor and aldermen want to get guns off the streets but it's OK to decriminalize marijuana.

    Yeah, that's the ticket.

    1. SCOTUS did not reverse ban.

      The U.S. Supreme Court did not overturn the ban on concealed carry.  The ruling came from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals which ruled Illinois' ban unconstitutional and gave the state 180 to craft a new law.

      As to your marijuana comments, many people, including myself, contend that decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana will reduce gang violence by taking marijuana out of the gang-controlled black market that fuels gang activities and funding.  Marijuana prohibition is a wasteful, antiquated, and illogical — America is catching on to that fact and over the years you will see an increased weakening of marijuana prohibition.  The Mayor and the City Council are ahead of the curve on this one — a great first step for Evanston.

      1. Decriminalize at the state level

        Chicago has tougher marijuana laws than Evanston. 

        If you are a gangbanger drug salesman, are you going to sell in Chicago, where the customers risk steep fines/jail time, or move your business to Evanston where your customers only risk a small fine for getting caught with possession?

        Our mayor seriously underestimates the intelligence of the leaders of the gangs.  Their organizations are run like fine tuned businesses.   Tisdhal has essentially just told the gangs to "come to Evanston and sell here! We won't penalize your customers like Chicago will!"  

         If you want to change drug laws(I do for sure), lobby to change state law- then, regulate the drug trade. Until drugs are legal, we need to penalize posession/sales as a crime.

        Ironic that in Evanston, you can get fined $500 for open alcohol in public, but yet pot fines are only $50 here.  

        And a $100 gift card as a way to reduce crime?  You have got to be joking.  Tisdahl needs to spend a little more time in the real world.


        1. Flawed arguments.

          Respectfully, your arguments are very flawed.

          Chicago has also discriminalized possession of marijuana — so Chicago and Evanston are, give or take, on par.

          That being said, gangs are very geographically organized, and generally operate in and around their own neighborhoods.  I'm not saying gangs don't try to make grabs for more territory, but it would be very unlikely that a gang from the south side of Chicago would, especially simply based on marijuana decriminilization, to set up shop in Evanston.  It's not like a gang can just set-up shop on a street corner and the customers come out of nowhere — you need houses, friends, networks, etc.

          Furthermore, there is not unlimited demand for pot in Evanston.  There is only enough demand to support so many dealers — and customers don't just buy from any 'ol schmo — they buy from who they know or have connections with.  So it would likely not be very profitable for a gang from Chicago to come out of the woodworks and try to sell pot in Evanston. 

          Lastly, I don't think the dealer cares all that much if their customers eventually get arrested (as long as they don't rat them out).  Your comments give too much credit to dealers' customer service.

          However, I do agree that a change to state law would be nice.

      2. Decriminalization

        Decriminalization of possession means nothing for reducing crime if the supply chain is still outlawed.  Just decriminaling possession is a liberal cost cutting measure for courts and hearing rooms because the fines are likely to not be paid.

        1. Yes and No.

          Your contention is valid, but not 100 percent accurate.  Yes, overwhelmingly, the supply chain is what needs to be legalized in order to largely reduce crime.  However, when the police no longer devote time, energy, and resources on arresting users, those efforts can be redirected toward abating real crime. 

  2. Treat gangs as terrorists

    Gang members who come into Evanston should be treated as Terrorists.  Shaking in their boots like they were walking into Deadwood city.  Guns are illegal in Chicago and now we have murders in Evanston. Where's Lorraine Morton!  This tepid and spineless response by the mayor is terrifying to me. Somebody better wake up!

    1. Guns not illegal in Chicago

      Guns are not illegal in Chicago.  Long guns like shotguns and rifles have been legal for quite some time, and Chicago's ban owning handguns has been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

  3. Not about guns

    We don't have too many guns in this community. We have too many killers in this community. 

    The idea that a gun buyback would do anything to prevent these killings is laughable. How many of these murders were committed by people with a FOID, or who could even legally possess a weapon?

    It's not about guns. It's about families, or the lack thereof, and a generation of black youth who are imbibing a profoundly dysfunctional culture.

  4. Gun control?

    Tighter gun legislation won't do a thing. Does anyone believe that the guns used in the recent murders legally obtained and registered? What will stricter laws do to prevent the use of illegally obtained weapons? I hate to be a pessimist, but it just doesn't seem realistic.

  5. 2nd Amendment

    Does our Mayor truly believe anyone involved in the latest string of shootings, or any other criminal activity, would participate in a gun buy-back program ? Not a single one of them are going to give up their illegally possessed firearms for a hundred dollar gift card. C'mon Mayor, lets stop this nonsense and come back to reality. However, I do have to give her credit. In true liberal fashion, she has not "let a good tragedy go to waste" and used this as an opportunity to grandstand about gun control. Unfortunately for her it came on the same day that Ilinois' stranglehold on the 2nd amendment has been overturned. Don't be so fast to give up your guns for $100…you'll be able to legally carry them and defend yourself soon.

    "The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that's good"

    — George Washington

  6. The mayor is misguided

    The mayor is misguided. For the umpteenth time, the criminals donot abide by gun laws so any additional infringement on my second amendment rights will not affect them. The police need to work smarter and be proactive instead of reactive against these known criminals. 

  7. The Mayor is the problem not the solution to Crime

    The Mayor has a long record of pretending crime can be solved with social services.  Her continued actions, have showen us, her inability to deal with the issue of crime. It reflects her background of wealth, and never having to deal with the day to day issues that confront normal people.

    She puts in her two cents about  gun control at a national level, not dealing with the reality the criminals are going to find other means to kill one another without guns. I recall one incident some years back they cut the victim's throat, to his neck bone, I was told the police officers who came to the scene were even upset.

    Or has our Mayor forgot about the residents that was stabbed nurmerous times in her home and the police never solved the crime.  She had Nothing to do with gangs.

    Maybe she should tell all the residents over the years here who have been victims of the strong arm robberies on the steets in this town she's is sorry.  In may cases people have been hurt, and its been covered up.

    The reality she is turning the city into her own private party, discussions at council are almost non-existent,  far too many things are being done behind closed doors, deals of questionable value are occurring against the taxpayers interest.  All the while she pretends she is the moral leader.

    Recently she claimed Not one blade of grass will be sold at Landhouse beach, one bid came in for the sell of the manison, and quess what rather than openning the bid to the public, which is the normal practice  the council is going behind closed doors to discuss it. I suspect more than one blade of grass will be sold ( stole ) from the taxpayers.

    Gvien the Mayor can't run the city in an ethical manner, how can she exerciset he moral leadership to deal with the crime problem?

    1. Landhouse Beach

      Other than calling Lighthouse Beach Landhouse Beach, this was very well said. Also, if the council is going behind closed doors to discuss the bidding on the sale of a house owned by the the city, it would be a clear violation of the open meetings act.

  8. Criminal buyback

    The problem is not that there are too many guns. It's that there are too many criminals. Admit it, mayor. The problem is with living, breathing humans that have no morals and serious, serious explosive anger issues.

    They have no family life and have no idea how to peacefully resolve conflict. The culture that supports them is also the problem.

    A gun, while extremely dangerous, is just a tool. Peaceful gun owners are no threat. We need a criminal buyback program.

    Peace out.

  9. This has nothing to do with drugs

    If anything, we have to relax our drug policies even more. Criminals can only monopolize drug profits and use that money to buy guns if the substance is illegal in the first place. If it's out in the open, people can rely on the rule of law to protect their property and business. Look at organized crime during Prohibition: it's the same thing.

    Of course, a similar principle applies to guns, and I agree with you there. To pick a nit, it was the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that just ruled IL carry ban unconstitutional, not the Supreme Court. Our legislature will still be bound by that decision, unless Lisa Madigan appeals to the Supreme Court and wins. An unlikely scenario.

  10. How about some honesty from the mayor and aldermen

    I wonder what Northwestern Medill Professor Ava Thompson Greenwell thinks about these murders?

    Greenwell is suing an Evanston police officer for briefly detaining her son last August in a burglary in progress investigation. A few aldermen publicly apologized to Greenwell before the internal investigation was complete and before Greenwell filed a lawsuit.

    The Chicago Innocence Project’s board of directors this week sought out and invited Greenwell to join their board. Greenwell who is suing Evanston Police Officer Mark Buell on charges of racial profiling said, "That perspective of having gone through that situation personally gives me a unique viewpoint in terms of being on the board."

    A review of Buell's record by the Daily Northwestern shows Buell has a "clean, commended history." The internal investigation also cleared Buell of wrongdoing.

    What does this have to do with the mayor's response to the city's rise in violence? Maybe showing some backbone and supporting the Evanston Police Department and Officer Buell by insisting no apology to Greenwell was necessary and that the Evanston Police does not racially profile.

    Honesty is such a lonely word.

  11. NRA in Evanston

    I had no idea the incredibly well-funded and logic-defying NRA lobby had such a presence in Evanston.  The gun lobby is like all the other super-power lobbies; they are making lots of money off of gun sales, and want to make sure this doesn't change.  I wonder if even half of these negative comments were made by real Evanstonians.  

    We are lucky to have a mayor who is proactive about addressing these problems.  She, not the NRA, is committed to dealing with the complex city that is Evanston, and the challenging issues that go along with it.  I think that removing a gun that could kill a child is a great idea; what gun ever stopped a crime from happening?  We should give our mayor as much support as possible in working towards a more peaceful environment.

    1. Gift cards don’t prevent murders

      This is like saying Planned Parenthood is making lots of money off abortions. The NRA has nothing to do with this problem.

      Logic defying? Like the absurd idea that $100 gift cards will make the Bamberg and Davis clans lay down their arms and turn the west side of Evanston into an idyll of manicured lawns and intact black middle class families?

      The gun buyback is an empty gesture to make PC liberals feel like they've done something, but all it does is distract from the hard reality that absent parents and a violent culture of dysfunction create killers. Condemn that culture, don't scapegoat an inanimate object for the problems that culture creates.

      Of course, there are many examples of guns preventing crimes, and the literature shows that there's no clear relationship between gun laws/gun ownership and violent crime. Once again, focus on the real problem, the culture. I'm sorry it makes you uncomfortable.

      Even if there wasn't empirical data contradicing the idea that more guns equals more crime, there is the pesky problem of the 2nd Amendment. It's a settled question now that we all have a constitutional right to possess reasonable firearms inside our home, and probably a right to carry them outside too. If you have a problem with that, start working on 3/4 of those state legislatures to repeal the 2nd Amendment. But that probably won't do much to prevent murders.

      And yes, I've lived in Evanston my whole life.

      1. Making Money

        I agree with almost all that you said except the Planned Parenthood comment. Planned Parenthood was a prolife organization until 1975. That is when it found out that there was a lot of money to be made through abortion and has become the largest abortion provider on the planet.

        1. Let’s not talk about Planned Parenthood

          This country is so funny, sitting here talking about PP some more. People need to start talking about real issues. The fact we still have debates about PP and dumb stuff that should have nothing to do with government and more personal choice is amazing….and why this country will never move forward, let alone Evanston. You people are blinded.

          1. Personal choice.

            You are right. Under the law presently, it is a personal choice to either end or not end the life of another human being. The fact that the fetus is a human being is not a debatable question for people who passed Biology 101.

      2. It’s a start

        You may feel the Gun Buy Back to be an empty gesture, but in my opinion it's a start. There is so much happening in our community, much the police and city of itself can't do anything about

        You can't convict a murderer if there aren't any witnesses cooperating. You can’t stop violence if the public is too fearful to point out the offenders. The gun by back brings us a chance to do a couple of things;

        1. Bring attention to the amount of illegal guns on the streets being used for criminal activity. It may not remove them from the street (Although I pray it will), we will howeve bring attention to the problem with no cost to The City.

        2. Show a sense of solidarity between the city, Police and faith Based communities willingness to meet the public in any legal effort to stop this senseless violence.

        It's easy to make statements about what will and will not work. There are many of my fellow ministers who disagree with the buy back, but if there is a rebuttal to a legitimate effort being made, offer another suggestion.

        I have no issue with our constitutional rights, but you need a license to drive a car or own a dog, because these things have the potential to be dangerous. I believe that everyone that has a gun should go about the proper process (Which should be more than applying for a license) to own it because of the potential danger.

        1. Thank you Pastor Cherry

          Pastor Cherry,

          Thank you for your comments. Your role and the role of other leaders in Evanston's faith based communities can help address the challenges our community faces.

          I hope to read more of your comments on Evanston Now.



        2. One less gun in the wrong hands

          I agree, and I would add that if non criminals sell their guns, that is one less gun that *could* end up in the wrong hands. 

        3. Solidarity for good parenting

          Pastor Cherry,

          I respect your opinion about this and believe that a show of solidarity is worthwhile. But the guns aren't going anywhere: there's at least 1 million in the Chicago area, so 200 cheap ones (only estimate I've seen) off the street isn't going to do anything. The guys who need guns for their illegal activities know where to get them, and they are plentiful.

          It seems like anyone paying attention can figure out who some of the players in this thing are: some idiots who call themselves DBlock (Dodge and Lyons), Bricksquad, some other nonsense. Do these guys have parents? Why does no one pressure them, or appeal to them that if they don't get their kids in check, more of them are going to be dead soon? Force them to make them leave town?

          I'm happy to fulfill more requirements to hold on to my guns, but that's not the problem here. It's a bunch of kids running wild and no adults paying any attention. (Seriously parents, do none of you ever check what your kids are posting on twitter? Kids are threatening each other with murder and clearly some of them aren't bluffing).

        4. Facts and figures needed on recent events here

          Pastor Cherry

          I don't mind symbolic efforts but that about all the Mayor wants to do.  She is only interested in her own agendas. She appears to be using the recent events to push her own ideas about gun control, rather than to seek a real solution to the criminal problem in this town.

          There are 270,000,000 guns in this country own by private individuals and another 300,000,000 owned by the military, another  900,000 owned by law enforcement.  How many guns in Evanston, one per citizen? Most likely less ( Evanstonnow had some numbers ), 10,000 -15,000.

          How many criminals live in this town?   Police department and our Mayor don't want to discuss that topic.  It appears every month, 1-2 people return to Evanston from jail, rate of repeat offense about 50%. How many dangerous criminal live here?  I once FOI the city on the number of criminals with high numbers of arrest. That is how ,many times they have been arrested. ( no answer )  I once saw in another community , an article on this and one individual in his fifties was arrested close to 300 times. The police have not admitted in public the problem here, but my sources over the years suggest about 200-300 hard core criminals live here.

          Criminal activity here is the problem, guns are not the Main issue, they are one of the means criminals have to commit crimes, about 2/3 of the homcides are gun related, but if they did not have the guns they would still be committing the crimes. The would use knifes and other weapons. By the way how many people have been hurt by robberies in this town over the years, that figure is not published. I once recall an elderly residents died a few weeks later after he was robbed and attacked.

          The Mayor does not want to admit that Evanston has a large criminal population, that the city must deal with, she wants to hide it.  Her solutions are to hand out free beach tokens.Some years back when young kids in groups were attacking people in the down town, the city became alarmed and increased police present, they had to sell all the condos they help build.

          I have live here almost 30 years and I know, too well our public officials lack of problem solving abilities, their inabiltity to deal with the issues, and to cover up what they can.  The issue of the homcides here started out as the typical community meetings and talk in, now the press is painting a much different picture of the matter. Is the Mayor real doing anything?


          1. Citizens reactions

            With the crime esp. murders, in Evanston and national news stories, at some point residents will take action if the police and government bodies do not solve the problem.

            We read that recent kills were the result of blood feuds.  However one victim was shot for just being in the 'wrong' place [actually a perfectly good place] at the wrong time [again reasonable time].  From Chicago we hear of shootings from mistaken identity and random fire killing others.

            Without  the recent decision about concealed carry, we could foresee some citizen reaction.  Now we may see more citizens armed at shooting at criminals who try to rob/assult them and possibly at those who act suspicious.  Hopefully it will not come to what we saw in the movie 'Death Wish'—at least not in Evanston but much more likely in Chicago. Of course the criminals will always have an adequate supply of guns no matter what the laws are.

            In Chicago the gangs, drug dealers and other criminals are scattered over  a very large area.  In Evanston the distribution is more clustered—though take a map and mark the 'save' and 'save but bordered on bad/questionable' areas.   It should be possible for the police and gang units to identify where the bad characters are and clamp down.

            Reports have been that the police and city government know who these people are.  The police may be doing all they can but we know the council and some residents want to blame crime on anything but the facts–they are criminals and almost none of the 'do good' social programs will change them.

            Yes the laws prevent arrests for what you think someone will do—despite threats and other acts that everyone knows is them, they have to harm/kill you before they get arrested.  However at some point residents will get fed-up and take the matter into their own hands.

    2. Empty rhetoric.

      Your comments are off the mark.  

      1. The NRA does not have a big presence in Evanston.

      2. The NRA does not make money off of gun sales — it is a membership based organization that receives its funding from those that choose to become members.

      3. In fact, relatively speaking, the NRA is not a big money group — the vast majority of their influence comes from rank-and-file members that use thier collective power at the voting booth (i.e. democracy).

  12. see the next story

    next story — yay!  thanks for reporting what no one else seems to want to.  This is a dispute between 2 families that goes all the way back to the McDonald's shooting 3 or 4 years ago.  This is a relatively isolated problem and none of this is random (though that is cold comfort to Dajae's parents since he was mistaken for someone else/caught int he crossfire).  

      1. right – sorry

        Yes — Smitty's garage — right behind McDonald's.  I am glad that there is now enought info out there that I can see to figure this out.  So Antoine Hill shot Robert Gresham at the Keg in 2005.  That was the start of it.  I feel so sad for both families.

        1. Why feel sorry

          Why feel sorry for the families? They're the ones terrorizing the neighborhood and deciding to solve their disputes with violence rather than cooperating with the police. I feel bad for the police.

  13. Da Mayor of Evanston

    Our mayor is not stupid. She just needs to think about what to say before opening her mouth and saying something stupid. This happens far to often.

    There is a smart thing she can do. She can call her pot possy in for a meeting. She can tell them that if the violence doesn't stop, she will make possession of small amounts of pot a crime again.

  14. Gun crimes have nothing to do with marijuana

    Yeah we all know "POTHEADS" are violent criminals!  Let's lock them all up for OVERWORKING their couch and TVs.  Murdering junk food shouldn't be tolerated either.

    Be for real….gun crimes have nothing to do with marijuana.  The only problem with marijuana is who smokers have to acquire it from.  Legalize, tax and have the state sell it.  This is the 21st Century.  Public policy shouldn't criminalize what is really a public health issue.  Police should deal with crime. 

    Please talk about the real issue here…gun violence.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *