Staff at Chicago charity Ronald McDonald House said that sick children and families were inside its building as looters smashed the front door while trying to get inside earlier this week.
“[They 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,” Ronald McDonald House Charities staffer Lisa Mitchell told ABC7.
The building houses families and children near Lurie Children’s Hospital.
“They are already in a really, really difficult spot, and having this kind of additional stress and worry about getting to and from the hospital … because of safety concerns is just doubling the strain,” Mitchell said. Windows were smashed and the front door was boarded up. No one was injured, officials said.
Mitchell told CBS Chicago that families need to “get the rest they need while they have a child in the hospital seeking care.”
“So it’s so important that anything that might be going on outside, we maintain our care for families,” she added.
A police report said that a hammer was used to break the glass, according to police. No suspect was identified, officials told USA Today.
The incident was apparently part of a widespread looting effort, which was praised by a local Black Live Matter organizer.
“I don’t care if somebody decides to loot a Gucci’s or a Macy’s or a Nike because that makes sure that that person eats. That makes sure that that person has clothes,” Ariel Atkins, the organizer, said at a rally near South Loop police station Monday, it was reported.
“That’s a reparation,” Atkins said. “Anything they want to take, take it because these businesses have insurance.”
On Monday, authorities said more than 100 people were arrested after social media posts encouraged a group of cars to engage in looting.
“This is not legitimate First Amendment protected speech. These were not poor people engaged in petty theft to feed themselves and their family,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, according to the paper. “This was straight-up felony criminal conduct.”