By Phil Shiver
Thousands of looters stormed the streets of downtown Chicago last weekend, burglarizing and destroying property at high-end retail shops, department stores — and even a charity house for sick children and their families.
What are the details?
Looters brazenly smashed the doors of the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, WLS-TV reported Monday.
Ronald McDonald House Charities is a nonprofit organization that provides free housing to ill children and their families while they receive medical care.
"[We were] very concerned, there was a lot of activity right in front of the house, people making choices that could put them at risk and put our families at risk so the staff was frightened," said Lisa Mitchell, a vice president at the charity.
According to staff at the house, there were more than 30 families and their sick children inside when looters descended upon the building.
"They're already in a really, really difficult spot, and having this kind of additional stress and worry about being able to get to and from the hospital, even though we're 5 blocks away, because of safety concerns is just doubling the strain," Mitchell added.
Thankfully, no one was hurt in the looting spree and no damage was caused to the inside of the house.
It is unclear whether the charity was specifically targeted or whether it was merely caught in the crossfire of a looting spree that resulted in more than 100 arrests, 2 individuals shot, and 13 police officers injured.
One of the Lurie Children's Hospital patients, 2-year-old Owen Buell, was supposed to go home to Joliet to celebrate his birthday but was prevented from leaving due to the violence outside.
His mother, Valeria Mitchell, told WBBM NewsRadio that the family was planning to "have cake and ice cream and do some presents at home with his siblings and his grandma" but then they got a call from a nurse saying it was too dangerous for them or hospital staff to come in.
Owen and his family have been staying at the charity house while he receives treatment for Stage 4 neuroblastoma.
"The whole door was shattered and it looked like a bullet hole, so I started freaking out thinking about how unsafe that was," Mitchell recalled about the damage at the house. "You shouldn't feel that way when your kid needs medical care. You shouldn't be afraid to walk a few blocks down the street."
Author: Phil Shiver