OLD IRVING PARK — Three people were wounded in another shooting at an illegal social club on the Northwest Side over the weekend, prompting the city to shut down the space.
Three people were shot about 1 a.m. Sunday at 4272 W. Irving Park Road, home to venue space R&R Events Venue, police and Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) said.
The three victims were inside the venue when a man came in and fired shots, police said. A 30-year-old man was shot in his chest, a 30-year-old woman shot in her leg and a 29-year-old man was shot in his leg, police said.
All three were taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center in fair condition, police said. No one is in custody, and the shooting is being investigated, police said.
Later Sunday, the city’s Department of Buildings shut down the storefront, posting a large yellow sign on the door.
Elisa Sledzinska, Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection spokesperson, said the business has no license with the city, and the agency is “working closely with city partners during the investigation.”
State records show R&R Events Venue was formed as an LLC in November. Listed business owners Rhona Hubbard and Rashonda Frazier did not return requests for comment.
Wald Management, which manages the building that includes the storefront, told the Sun-Times that R&R Events Venue signed a lease to use it as an office in December.
The management company did not return requests for comment, but representatives told the Sun-Times they previously tried to evict R&R Events Venue for violating the terms of its lease by hosting events.
A woman who attended the party, who requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, said she was getting ready to leave when she heard an argument and gunshots come from the front door.
“As I am grabbing my coat, I hear the gunshots,” she said. “By the time we were ducking down, my friends [and I] were on top of each other, and I was trying to protect myself.”
The woman said the party was for friends and family, and she does not know the man who opened fire. The victims, who are her friends, are doing better, she said.
The woman said she was not aware that the business had no active event license, and she had never been to the location.
Adrienne Chan, president of the Old Irving Park Association, said the shooting was unsettling, but residents worked with officials to get the business shut down quickly. She said the shooting seemed targeted and not directly related to the venue or location. Still, having businesses operating illegally is concerning, Chan said.
“We don’t want to see illegal businesses happening in our neighborhood,” Chan said. “We all want these storefronts to be filled, but we want them to have responsible owners.”
Gardiner, who worked with the local police district and the city’s Department of Buildings to close the business, said the shooting was an isolated incident that only involved the participants of the party.
“This storefront was operating without any city permits and will be shut down immediately,” the alderman wrote on Facebook. “This will not be tolerated in our community!”
Katy Pizza, co-owner of Eris Brewery & Cider House at 4240 W. Irving Park Road, said some of her employees were leaving work Sunday when they heard commotion from the shooting.
“They turned right back around and went back into the building to wait things out,” Pizza said. “It’s stressful and scary when things like that happen. I know there are apartments above the venue. … My heart goes out to those shot.”
Neighbors need to keep their eyes open and report any suspicious activity as illegal venues pop up around the Northwest Side, Chan said.
In January, the city shut down another illegal social club near Six Corners at 4827-31 W. Irving Park Road for operating without a license. In June 2020, the agency issued eight citations and four cease and desist orders to the storefront, Sledzinska said.
Northwest Side leaders have vowed to crack down on illegal parties after 19-year-old Meagan Bilbo was killed and two others wounded in a shooting outside an unlicensed Jefferson Park social club in December.
Patricia O’Keefe, Bilbo’s aunt who lives in Jefferson Park, said news of another shooting at an illegal venue is disturbing and “insane.”
“They aren’t doing anything until there is a shooting,” O’Keefe said. “To me, it should be more obvious when there is a place that has trouble… You know the result of these parties: deaths and maimings. It’s too late when the police are called and the ambulance is needed. Meagan had to lose her life for people to open their eyes to see this is a dangerous [situation]. Nothing good is going to come of” illegal storefronts.
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