JOLIET – Three men were shot Monday night while sitting in a car in the Fairview Homes housing project in Joliet.
Joliet Police Lt. Kevin LaBolle said authorities were called at 10:50 p.m. when gunfire was reported near Cardinal Lane and Fairmont Avenue.
No victims were at the scene, but a short time later three men drove themselves to Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center and said they'd been parked in the area when they were attacked, LaBolle said.
A 38-year-old man and a 34-year-old man suffered gunshot wounds to their backs and a 33-year-old man was shot in the leg. Their vehicle also was struck several times, according to reports.
No suspect information was available Tuesday.
It was at least the third shooting in recent weeks at Fairview. Two fatal Fairview shootings occurred Aug. 23 and Sept. 13. One arrest has been made. Neither the victims nor the one suspect in those shootings lived at Fairview.
Monday's shootings happened shortly after a community meeting was held to discuss ways to fight crime in the Forest Park neighborhood of the city, which includes Fairview.
"It's disheartening, but we have work to do," said Garland Mays, president of the Forest Park Neighborhood Council, which held the meeting. "It's got to stop."
Mays said he intends to talk with the mayor and police chief to insist on a plan to deal with the outbreak of shootings at Fairview. He said members of the Neighborhood Council also plan to go to Fairview themselves to find out the source of the crime.
"We want to target the problem and go to them," he said. "We're not going to continue to tolerate this."
Police at the community meeting Monday said Forest Park has had more than 30 violent crimes in each of the last three years, including incidents at Fairview.
Mays said crimes have been dispersed throughout the neighborhood and police have focused efforts in certain areas. The recent outbreak of violence at Fairview, however, has made matters worse, and people want something done.
During the community meeting, police said they have stepped up patrols in the area around Fairview, especially during weekends, to increase police visibility. Police also said they are watching for people who have been banned from Fairview by the Housing Authority of Joliet in order to remove them from the property.
While it has been generally believed that people involved in the shootings do not live in Fairview, police said Tuesday some victims and suspects are from the housing complex or the surrounding area.
"The people we suspect live up there," said Sgt. Christopher Moore, with the Gang Intelligence Unit. "They live in the projects or right around the projects."
The three men shot last night do not live in Fairview, but they all live in Joliet, Moore said.
He said circumstances surrounding the shootings also indicate that suspects know the area well.
"You can tell they are extremely familiar with the area because of where the incidents are happening," Moore said. "It's not their first time at the projects."
Police and the Housing Authority have been discussing additional security cameras at Fairview to capture areas now being missed.
Deputy Chief Ed Gregory said in addition to dedicating more squad cars to the Fairview area, bicycle patrols will start.
"In the black-and-white squad cars, they recognize us before we recognize them," Gregory said. "On the bicycles, they don't really know it's a police officer until we are right on them."
Herald-News reporter Brian Stanley contributed to this report.