by Melanie Jongsma
(June 1 update: An earlier version of this story included Philips Chevy in the list of businesses impacted by vandals. It was later learned that one of the Napleton dealerships—not Phillips—sustained damage. We will provide more details as they are confirmed. For now we have removed the reference to Phillips below.)
LANSING, Ill. (May 31, 2020) – Sirens, CodeRED text alerts, cell phone videos, and social media commentary helped move the state from pandemic to pandemonium throughout Sunday afternoon and evening. What started out as a beautiful day to enjoy the easing of COVID-induced restrictions, gradually dissolved into confusion and mayhem.
Lansing was included in reports from Indiana of looting and shooting, though a careful reading of those articles reveals that most of the examples cited are from Calumet City, Munster, and other locations in Northwest Indiana.
Some Lansing businesses did suffer damage and loss. Detailed reports are not available at this time.
Verified information includes the following:
- River Oaks Mall in Calumet City (which borders Lansing to the north) was closed after “organized bands within the protest groups” arrived to vandalize and loot the shops there, said Calumet City Mayor Michelle Qualkenbush. She released a statement urging Calumet City residents to stay inside and avoid the area in order to allow police to do their jobs.
- Some vandals traveled south down Torrence and committed crimes in Lansing.
- In response to the news about River Oaks, Walmart decided to close several locations, including Lansing. As Lansing police arrived, offenders were already exiting the store and leaving the scene in multiple vehicles.
- Shops in The Landings strip mall were impacted, but specific information is not yet available about which stores or how many or what kind of damage was done.
- As vandals continued south on Torrence, damage and/or theft occurred at the BP Amoco station (17002 Torrence), Boost Mobile (2398 172nd St), and Unitek (17111 Torrence) north of the expressway.
- At 2:28pm, subscribers to the Village CodeRED system received this message: “Due to heightened police activity in Lansing (especially on Torrence Ave) and nearby towns, Lansing residents are asked to stay at home if at all possible.” The message was also shared on social media channels.
- Stores in Lansing—along Ridge Road as well as Torrence Avenue—decided to close early.
- South of the expressway, vandals reached the T-Mobile store (17640 Torrence).
- Both Lansing Walgreens (18133 Torrence and 3564 Ridge) suffered damage and losses.
- Peaceful protesters were seen in Lansing. A small group holding “Black Lives Matter” signs did not seem to have any connection to the looters.
- Business owners along Ridge Road took steps to protect their shops.
- At 5:05pm, the Village CodeRed system sent this update: “The Torrence Ave. exit ramps are being closed until further notice. Police activity continues, especially on Torrence Avenue, from 178th St. northbound.”
- One Lansing police officer was injured during an arrest. After being treated at Munster Community Hospital the officer was released.
- An 8:39pm CodeRED message said, “As of 8:30 the acts of vandalism occurring earlier in Lansing have subsided. Lansing residents are strongly encouraged to stay inside their homes tonight.”
The above information is not a comprehensive account of Sunday events in Lansing and the surrounding region; only verified information that was provided by reliable sources or firsthand witnesses has been included in this list.
Updates will be published as confirmed reports become available.
Pastor Leroy Childress of Grace Church (2740 Indiana Avenue) published an invitation to fellow pastors and other members of the community who believe in the effectiveness of praying. Interested participants will meet in the Grace Church parking lot at 1:00pm Monday, June 1.