WICKER PARK — A man walking on a bustling stretch of Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park was shot in the leg just as the neighborhood’s 2 a.m. bars were closing early Sunday.
The shooting happened amid a large street fight, but it was unclear if the victim was part of the fight or an innocent bystander accidentally shot while leaving a bar for the night.
Officer Jose Jara, a Chicago Police spokesman, said the 37-year-old man was leaving a bar in the 1500 block of North Milwaukee around 2:15 a.m. Sunday when he was shot in the leg.
The man was taken to Stroger Hospital in stable condition. He told police he did not see where the shots came from or see the shooter “as there was a large altercation in the street.”
Jara could not confirm which bar the man had been leaving when he was shot. The block is home to several bars.
According to a Tribune report, the man was shot in front of High Noon Saloon, 1560 N. Milwaukee Ave. A few men ran southeast on Milwaukee immediately after the shooting and most of the bystanders scrambled for safety, the Tribune reported.
Around 11 a.m. Sunday, bloodstains on the sidewalk in front of High Noon Saloon had been washed away and there was yellow police tape streaming out of a garbage can.
Baris Yuksel, owner of High Noon Saloon, said he checked in with the manager who was there at the time of the shooting to find out more information.
“The manager who worked last night said the person had not been at High Noon. It was a random guy on the street [who got shot],” Yuksel said.
Other employees of High Noon, which closes at 2 a.m., told Yuksel they were in the process of closing down the bar when the incident happened.
“This is all I know, from staff [of bar] if it helps. It happened by Lubinski Furniture [a few doors south of bar]. A scuffle of 5-8 guys, then a gun went off and everyone scattered. The guy who got shot ended up in front of High Noon where he sat down, then the ambulance came shortly after that,” Yuksel said via text message.
Yuksel, a longtime Wicker Park business owner, said he was “definitely concerned” about the shooting and crime in general.
“We need more police presence, especially at night,” Yuksel said.
Darlene Enlo, a Wicker Park resident who lives on the 1500 block of North Milwaukee, did not witness the shooting but said she saw fresh bloodstains on the sidewalk while she was walking her dog around 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
“I saw the blood stains and I thought to myself, it’s getting worse,” Enlo said.
No one is in custody and Area North detectives are investigating.