CHICAGO, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Two people were shot, more than 100 arrested and 13 police officers injured in widespread looting and vandalism that happened early Monday morning in downtown Chicago.
A security guard and a civilian were struck by gunfire and taken to the hospital in critical conditions. Of the 13 police officers injured, a sergeant was struck by a bottle, and an officer's nose was broken. Five guns were recovered at the scenes.
At a press conference held Monday morning, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown linked the looting in downtown Chicago to a shooting in Englewood in South Chicago Sunday afternoon, when police officers responded to a report of a 20-year-old man with a gun. The man fled and fired at officers, and the officers fired back and struck the man, who was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive.
After the shooting, a crowd gathered in the area, Brown said. The Chicago Police Department became aware of "several social media posts" about looting planned downtown, and reacted by deploying 400 officers to the downtown area.
The first looting incident happened in South Chicago, Brown said, but "soon, car caravans were headed into the Loop" to begin looting. It is "pure criminality," he said.
A video posted on social media showed a white car drove into and broke the window of a store while tens of people lined besides cheering. Other videos on social media showed crowds breaking windows and entering stores in business districts in downtown Chicago.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the act a "felony criminal conduct" and "an assault on our city." She called on the public to help apprehend the looters.
"To those who engaged in this criminal behavior ... we are coming for you. We are already at work in finding you and we intend to hold you accountable," Lightfoot said at the press conference. "There is no justification for criminal behavior ever."
The police have started a neighborhood protection plan; a team of detectives has been assigned to scour security footage of all incidents; access to downtown Chicago will be restricted from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., effective Monday night; and all day-off has been cancelled for Chicago Police officers, local media reported.
For several hours Monday morning, the bus and train service was suspended in downtown Chicago, and all downtown bridges except one were raised, according to a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announcement.
CTA restored normal service shortly before 8 a.m., but the major streets throughout downtown Chicago remain closed.
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