CHINATOWN — Chinatown’s alderman will push for a karaoke bar to close after a shooting left one woman dead and two other people hospitalized Friday.
Chinatown residents are circulating a petition to close No. 18 Karaoke Bar, 2201 S. Wentworth Ave. The petition is being supported by Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) and the Coalition For A Better Chinese American Community, a nonprofit neighborhood group.
Petition organizers hope to present the petition, which demands the city close the bar, to the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection as early as next week.
At 11 p.m. Friday, police responded to shots fired in the 2200 block of South Wentworth Avenue, police said. Officers found a 24-year-old woman shot in the torso and a 42-year-old woman shot in the hand, police said.
The 24-year-old woman was taken to Stroger Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The 42-year-old woman was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center in good condition, police said.
A 38-year-old man who had been exchanging gunfire with a second person was transported to Northwestern Hospital in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the buttocks, according to an initial police statement. In a statement to Block Club Sunday, police said no one was in custody for the shooting.
The identity of the 24-year-old victim has not been released by the medical examiner’s office.
Although police said they could not confirm the bar was involved in the shooting, Anne Shaw, a neighbor who lives within 500 feet of the karaoke bar and other community members with knowledge of the incident said it appeared to have stemmed from a fight or argument that spilled out from the karaoke bar onto the street.
Located on the second floor of a building at 2201 S. Wentworth Ave., at least two shootings have happened on the street near the bar this year, according to the petition, as well as incidences of public indecency, vandalism and various other noise complaints, according to neighbors.
The recent shooting spurred Shaw to create the petition demanding the city revoke the karaoke bar’s license.
“This bar has been a source of problems in the community probably since it opened, but in the last year or so, it has really gotten worse,” Shaw said. “We’ve had a lot of public indecency, noise, fights. Just a lot of problems. And it’s right in the heart of Chinatown.”
Bar owners could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday. Publicly available business records list its LLC admission date as 2013.
Shaw said the petition will be translated into Chinese and distributed to residents within 500 feet of the business. She said Chinatown must remain a safe destination for tourists, business owners and families.
“This is just too much,” Shaw said of the recent violence. “We want to send a message that Chinatown … is really about families, community members coming together to help each other.”
Grace Chan, who serves as executive director of the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, said she is working with Shaw to circulate the petition to Chinese-speaking neighbors. She added the petition was not just about the most recent shooting incident, but also about promoting safety in the community more broadly.
“This is not the first time the bar has had issues,” Chan said. “There were other incidents, also, that were not related to this. So folks are just concerned about having a safe environment for both residents and visitors in general.”
A spokesperson for Sigcho-Lopez, the area’s alderman, confirmed he is supporting Chinatown neighbors’ petition to shut down the karaoke bar. A community meeting is planned for Tuesday to discuss steps the neighborhood can take to stop gun violence.
“Bar fights are ending in deadly shootings,” he wrote. “The flow of guns on our streets cannot be normalized. Mass shootings cannot be normalized. We’re living through a crisis.”
The Chinatown shooting in front of the karaoke bar is one of two shootings in front of bars Sigcho-Lopez is contending with as the leader of the 25th Ward. A shooting Friday in the 400 block of South Wells Street in the Loop left two men dead and three others hospitalized after they got in a verbal argument after leaving Persona Lounge.
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