In the streets of Chicago, a gang member learned a hard lesson after he opened fire on two armed citizens.
The Windy City has been a dangerous place for years due to the flawed soft-on-crime policies of the local government, making responsible gun ownership even more important for law-abiding residents. This particular incident occurred on January 31 when Soto, a tow truck driver, got into a dispute with two other tow truck drivers over a job.
The situation soon turned dangerous when he decided to fire on the two men.
In a Chicago Police Department report, officers said Soto got into an argument with the other drivers over a towing assignment in the 4600 block of West Harrison around 10 a.m. Soto left, then returned and began shooting at the other tow drivers, striking one, a 58-year-old man, in the arm, according to the report. The other driver, 36, was not injured.
Both of the drivers he shot at pulled out their own firearms and shot back, striking Soto throughout his body, officials said. Soto fled the scene, but Chicago cops found him at Loyola University Medical Center.
The CPD arrest report said Soto is a “documented member of the satan disciple street gang.”
Soto is still hospitalized and is recovering from multiple (well-deserved) gunshot wounds. He had been on a pretrial release at the time of the altercation, and he was already awaiting trial for other offenses.
Soto is already awaiting trial on two counts of aggravated fleeing from Berwyn police. That case was filed in March and was headed toward a bench trial when Soto was shot, according to court records. He posted a $2,000 bail deposit last year to get out of jail in that case.
This story highlights the dangers faced by people in certain professions. Tow truck drivers, in particular, can face danger while carrying out their duties – especially in high-crime areas like Chicago.
According to OSHA, there are 26 fatal injuries in the motor vehicle towing (MVT) industry in a single year. In the same vein, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports 231 work-related deaths in the MVT over the span of six years. 36% of those deaths involved the tow truck operator being struck by roadway traffic, 16% were struck-by incidents involving objects or equipment, and 14% were acts of violence.
In a city like Chicago, gang violence and violent crime run rampant.
Chicago’s violent crime rate has been slowly rising since 2019, after steady declines from a high in 2016.
There were nearly 27,700 violent crimes reported in the city so far this year, levels not seen since 2011, according to a CBS Chicago analysis of police data from Jan.1 through Dec.11.
This is thanks in part to increases in robberies and aggravated assaults. Shootings and homicides have decreased substantially from highs during the pandemic, although they remain at levels higher than most of the early 2000s.
In this situation, the two men clearly understood the importance of exercising their rights to keep and bear arms – and it possibly saved their lives. In a state like Illinois, which isn’t exactly friendly to gun owners who are not criminals, being armed and trained is even more critical.