RIVER NORTH — After a brazen daylight shooting on a busy street, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) may push to revoke licensing for a bar he and other neighbors claim has brought crime to the neighborhood.
Around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, a 27-year-old man was approached in the 300 block of West Erie Street by a gunman who fired shots at him, striking him in the head, police said. The gunman fled in a Jeep, and the victim was taken to a local hospital in critical condition, police said. About 50 shell casings were marked along the street, neighbors said.
The incident was captured in a graphic video first reported by CWB, which shows the victim being chased down the street by a gunman and three other people before being shot.
Neighbor Kelly Williams said she was at home Saturday when she heard “what first sounded like fireworks” near Blüm Restaurant & Bar, 316 W. Erie St,. as two cars sped away.
“There’s been crime around here over the years, but with the rapid fire of so many shots, this one feels different … the neighborhood is very rattled,” Williams said.
A man accused of driving the Jeep, Curtis Roberts, 35, was charged with felony counts of aggravated fleeing and unlawful use of a weapon after striking another car near the crime scene, police said.
No one is in custody for the shooting, which remains under investigation, police said.
Reilly said he has asked police to increase patrol along West Erie Street during evening hours, investigate Blüm and “if witness reports are substantiated, initiate the license revocation process to shut them down.”
“This isn’t the first time we have seen violence erupt on the doorstep of this establishment,” Reilly said in a statement. “River North residents should not be forced to endure the deleterious impact that these problem liquor establishments are having on our community. Enough is enough.”
A police spokesperson did not directly answer questions about whether they’ll pursue a summary closure at the business. Police have not issued a summary closure yet.
“CPD and Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) are working with the business to ensure they are in compliance with the City of Chicago Municipal Code,” the police spokesperson said in the statement. “We are also reminding the business of its responsibilities to the community as we work to strengthen safety in the area.”
Business affairs spokesperson Elisa Sledzinska said the Erie Street establishment has undergone a handful of name changes under one corporation since 2008: from Coyote Ugly Saloon to Patron’s Hacienda to Clutch Bar & Restaurant before becoming Blüm after 2021.
The business has had nine citations, but none under its current name, Sledzinska said. The agency has received 22 complaints against the business since 2008, Sledzinska said.
Blüm is operated by So Clutch Group, a hospitality company based in Dallas, Texas. Its portfolio include five other bars and restaurants in major Texas cities, according to the company’s website. Ownership at So Clutch Group did not return requests for comment.
Some neighbors said crowds and loitering outside the business on weekends have gotten worse in recent years, raising safety concerns.
“What happened this weekend spilled out to the street, and it all seems to stem from this place,” said one resident, who asked not to be named. “The noise doesn’t really matter, just the crime that comes from it.”
Another neighbor who said they’ve lived in River North for a decade said the neighborhood is suffering from an “identity crisis.”
“They can’t keep parts of it quiet and residential now without the proper security,” said the neighbor, who also requested anonymity. “These bars and clubs have private security, but once people step outside of them, they’re not responsible anymore … It’s a pattern.”
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