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Armed robber shoots man on Hampton Avenue

by Maggie Crane

Posted on June 19, 2011 at 11:46 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 20 at 12:28 PM

A rash of crime happens where many didn't expect it.

Many of you are familiar with Hampton Avenue, just south of Tilles Park. That's where a man was shot while running away from a would-be robber.  Just before that, thieves broke into several cars.

Witnesses say that this wasn't drug-related, that this wasn't some guys arguing over who-knows-what. This was a random, armed robbery that has neighbors worried after what happened on the corner of Hampton Avenue and Potomac.

Talk about a bad night. A 22-year-old walked out of Malle's bar to discover his car and two others broken into. He was telling his girlfriend about it over the phone when someone put a gun to his head. The victim tried to run back inside the bar, but the robber shot him in the back. The customer was seriously hurt and the bar owner tells me that the victim is in a lot of pain and suffering from a collapsed lung.

Violent crimes like this one are very rare for this area, and business owners intend to keep it that way. Tom Malle tells me that it's the first time something like this has happened in the 24 years he's owned the bar.

"We just love this area and feel like this is an isolated incident, and we just want to work with our alderman and police to make sure this doesn't happen again," Malle says. "Everyone was shocked of course and we just hope that they can catch whoever did this and keep our neighborhood strong. This is the best neighborhood on the south side. This is the best neighborhood ever."

Here's what we know about the shooter: The victim told police the gunman was on foot. He's described as a black man in his 30s, 6'0 with a medium build. He's bald and was wearing a striped polo shirt.

Malle's manager says, even more startling, is that it appears that the shooting and the car break-ins are not related.  A witness reported seeing a red Cadillac involved in the smash-and-grabs.  Not only should neighbors be on alert, but if anyone knows anything about this gunman, call police.