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Shooting suspect to face charges today

A 17-year-old, shot by police Friday night after officers say they saw him firing several shots at a car on Dodge Avenue near Church Street, will be in Skokie district court today to face several charges.

A 17-year-old, shot by police Friday night after officers say they saw him firing several shots at a car on Dodge Avenue near Church Street, will be in Skokie district court today to face several charges.

Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington told residents at a neighborhood meeting at the Heartwood Center Tuesday night that the youth, Stephen Adams of Des Plaines, was involved in a dispute with another young man over a young woman.

Eddington said Adams was standing on the corner of Church and Dodge about 8:14 p.m. Friday, arguing on a cell phone with the other man, who was driving toward the intersection in a white car.

The car, with four teenagers and a five-year-old boy inside, was heading east on Church with its lights out.

Two police officers in a patrol car heading westbound on Church saw that the car had no lights, and were about to pull it over when the car turned northbound onto Dodge and, Eddington says, Adams started shooting.

As the car drove off down an alley, the officers chased after Adams. Eddington says the officers exchanged shots with Adams and he ended up wounded in the upper left shoulder.

Adams is scheduled to face charges of unlawful use of a weapon, aggravated discharge of a firearm and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

Eddington told the neighbors that "Mr. Adams is not a stranger to violence."

He said Adams was one of the young men shot in an incident downtown last summer at Benson Avenue and Davis Street, and that he was arrested a week later in the 8th Ward for carrying and shooting a firearm.

"We’re very invested in preventing violence," Eddington said, "but we have to come to grips with the fact that there is a group of individuals that are responsible for a wholly disproportionate amount of crime."

"It’s an infinitesimal minority of people who go down this path," he added, "but they create huge issues in the community by their acts."

A woman who lives near the shooting scene said, "I had to hit the floor in my living room when those shots were fired."

"I’m afraid, she added. "After 30-some-years living here, I’m serously considering selling my house."

Eddington noted that despite a spike in homicides last year, overall crime rates in Evanston continue to decline.

He suggested technology can be part of the solution. The shooting was captured on a surveillance tape "from a private entity" on the corner, Eddington said. "Once the video is made public and shared," he suggested, it should have an impact.

"Cameras displace misbehavior," he said. "Can they stop people from being violent? No, but we can convince them to not do it where the cameras are."

But he said more than that is needed. "We’re talking about a 17-year-old trying to solve an interpersonal problem with a firearm. A lot of stuff went wrong in his life before this."

As an example of community efforts that he believes can be helpful, the chief noted that he’d just come from a meeting at Family Focus at which a group of residents are trying to provide help to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.

He said the police and other city agencies are trying to provide outreach to young people most at risk, but that neighbors also need to get involved and make it clear that certain behavior is unacceptable.

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