A standoff between Chicago police and a gunman holding two women hostage in an apartment building on the city's South Side dragged into its 17th hour, as police tried to persuade the man to give up.

Chicago police spokeswoman Monique Bond said everything was "status quo."

"We are in communication with the victim and the offender," she said.

A group of relatives and neighbors began shouting at police, telling them they needed to do more to end the standoff, as about 20 officers stood with arms crossed at the yellow-taped perimeter.

Earlier, Police 1st Deputy Dana Starks said they were approaching the situation cautiously "to ensure that there are no injuries."

Officers described the hostages as young women and were unable to comment on their relationship with their captor, who fired shots earlier at police.

One of the hostages was identified by relatives as 22-year-old Tasha Cooks, who has lived in the second-floor apartment for two years, her aunt, Sherry McKenzie, said.

"I'm not doing good; I want my niece to come out and nothing to be wrong with her," McKenzie said.

The gunman is in his 20s or 30s and authorities said they believe he is armed with a semiautomatic weapon.

Starks declined to say how many shots had been fired.

Meanwhile, the gunman's sister pleaded with her brother to cooperate with authorities.

Chicago Police Officer Kelly Liakopoulos said she couldn't confirm reports that the gunman lived in the building.

The standoff began about 2:30 a.m. Thursday when police received a 911 call.

Police surrounded the building, which sits among brick houses and apartment buildings. Authorities also closed several blocks and surrounded the scene with yellow police tape, while neighbors set up tables of food for the dozens of law enforcement officials that were waiting nearby.

"It's a bad situation, but at least no one's gotten hurt," said Don Lynch, 50, a nearby resident who was washing his car nearby earlier Thursday.

Gwendolyn Hodges, 48, who lives in the building where the hostages were being held, spent the morning sitting in her car, waiting to be allowed inside so she could shower and prepare for a Thanksgiving meal with her family.

"This is ridiculous," she said. "What kind of holiday is this for people."