CHICAGO — Jazib Aqeel couldn’t stop his hands from shaking as he touched the bullet hole in his car, just above the driver’s seat.
Two more bullets went through the back windshield. More than 15 through the back driver-side window. Blood covered the black backseat coverings.
“You’re very lucky. Very lucky,” a detective said to him.
About four hours earlier, around 12:45 a.m. Monday, Aqeel drove to the 1200 block of West Leland Avenue in the Sheridan Park neighborhood to pick up his last passenger of the night.
Aqeel, 32, has been a full-time Uber driver since September after working part-time since 2017. His silver Toyota sedan has Uber and Lyft stickers on the front. It still has a Louisiana license plate; Aqeel said he moved to the Chicago area not too long ago.
The passenger gave him a call that he was on his way. Aqeel told him to take his time. He chose the ride because the man’s final destination was in his home suburb.
The man got into the back seat of his car. Aqeel did his usual routine of asking for the man’s name to confirm he had the right person. When everything checked out, he slid his car into drive and let his foot off the brake. Then he heard gunshots.
“I didn’t know what was happening,” Aqeel said.
He thought of his 4-year-old son and pregnant wife at home.
“I bent down,” he said. “And I just thought that was time for me to go.”
The gunshots stopped and he rushed out of his car and ran down an alley. He saw a car down the block and was afraid the shooter would come back, so he hid by a trash bin and called 911.
He didn’t know if his passenger was alive. He heard the man scream and saw gunshot wounds to his chest.
The 27-year-old man, who has not yet been identified, died at the scene, according to Chicago police. They did not have a description of the gunman, just that the shooter was inside a dark-colored vehicle. No arrests have been made.
Aqeel said he didn’t see who was shooting but it must have started behind them. Someone may have been following and waiting for his passenger, he thought. Officers didn’t give him any explanation or motive.
The man was one of at least 57 people who were shot over the weekend, according to data kept by the Chicago Tribune. At least 13 of them died.
It was more deadly than the recent Labor Day weekend, when at least 51 were shot, nine fatally.
Police put up crime scene tape around Aqeel’s car in the middle of the street. About 20 evidence markers sat under and around a squad car that inside the scene. Five more markers surrounded the Toyota.
A detective took note of nearby surveillance cameras on the brick apartment buildings that enclosed the tight two-way street. As evidence technicians finished, they had an officer drive the squad car forward and found another shell casing underneath and marked it as evidence No. 26.
“I’m very lucky I did not get shot. … I was not expecting anything here,” Aqeel said. “I’m just worried about my car because that’s what I depend on.”
Another homicide occurred on the same Sheridan Park block almost three years ago. Around 6 p.m. on Nov. 13, 2017, someone in a silver car fired shots and hit Deshawn Johnson, 18, in the chest while he was standing with a group of people. He was pronounced dead less than 40 minutes later at Illinois Masonic Medical Center.
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