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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

Police Shut Down Vera Lounge After Portage Park Mass Shooting That Left Three People Dead

Three people were killed and a fourth was critically wounded in a Sunday shooting, which police say escalated after a fight inside the lounge.

Vera Lounge, 3235 N. Central Ave., on the border of Portage Park and Belmont Cragin, is seen Dec. 12, 2022.
Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
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PORTAGE PARK — Police shut down a Northwest Side nightclub indefinitely after a three people were killed and a fourth critically wounded in a mass shooting nearby over the weekend.

Supt. David Brown issued a summary closure Wednesday for Vera’s Lounge, 3235 N. Central Ave., police said. The order stops all business at the lounge and deems it closed until further notice.

Summary closure enables police and city officials to close establishments they say pose a repeated threat to public safety.

“The Superintendent of Police has determined that this establishment presents a public safety threat due to a violent offense occurring at this establishment during the establishment’s operating hours, involving the licensee/owner, or its employees, agents or patrons, or otherwise involving circumstances having a connection to the operation of this establishment,” the notice reads.

The owner of the lounge, which sits on the border of Portage Park and Belmont Cragin, can request a probable cause hearing in front of the mayor within three business days of the notice to determine whether a public safety threat exists, the notice reads. Once a hearing takes place, city officials will issue a decision within two business days.

The shooting, which was captured on video, occurred down the block from Vera Lounge but stemmed from a fight that began inside while the owner’s niece was celebrating her birthday, officials said.

Ricky Vera, 50, was shot in his head and body, and pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Family friend Mario Pozuelos, 26; and Mercedes Tavares, 24, Vera’s niece, were both shot multiple times and died after being taken to area hospitals.

Mariah Vera, 25, was shot in her head and remains hospitalized.

Police charged Samuel Parsons-Salas, 32, with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of kidnapping. Cook County prosecutors said Parsons-Salas shot the victims multiple times in a “cold execution” style, critically wounding one woman as she tended to her dying father.

He was denied bail at a court hearing Wednesday.

Carlos Vera Jr., owner of Vera Lounge and Ricky Vera’s brother, has not responded to requests for comment.

The lounge, which serves Latin cuisine and hosts Latin music nights, opened in October 2021, according to a Facebook post by Ricky Vega.

There are two active business licenses for Vera Lounge: A food and dining license issued in September of last year, and a liquor license issued at the beginning of this year, city records show.

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