After 3 gunshots at storefront party in Old Irving Park, city closes another illegal event space

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OLD IRVING PARK — Three people were injured in another shooting at an illegal Northwest Side social club over the weekend, prompting the city to shut down the space.

Three people were shot dead around 1 a.m. Sunday at 4272 W. Irving Park Road, home to the R&R Events Venue, police and Ald. said Jim Gardiner (45th).

All three victims were inside the scene when a man entered and fired, police said. A 30-year-old man was shot in the chest, a 30-year-old woman was shot in the leg and a 29-year-old man was shot in the leg, police said.

All three were taken to Masonic Medical Center in Illinois in fair condition, police said. No one is in custody and the shooting is being investigated, police said.

Later Sunday, the city’s Buildings Department closed the storefront, displaying a large yellow sign on the door.

Elisa Sledzinska, spokeswoman for the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, said the company did not have a license with the city and that the agency was “working closely with city partners during investigation”.

State recordings show R&R Events Venue was formed as an LLC in November. Publicly traded company owners Rhona Hubbard and Rashonda Frazier did not return requests for comment.

Wald Managementwho manages the building including 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 that they had 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 asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, said she was about to leave when she heard an argument and gunshots coming from the front door.

“As I grab my coat, I hear gunshots,” she said. “The moment we bent 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 doesn’t know the man who opened the fire. The victims, who are her friends, are doing better, she says.

The woman said she was unaware that the business did not have an active event license and had never been to the venue.

Adrienne Chan, president of the Old Irving Park Association, said the shooting was disturbing, but residents worked with authorities to quickly shut down the business. She said the shooting appeared targeted and not directly tied to location 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 filled, but we want them to have responsible owners.”

Gardiner, who worked with the local police district and city building department to shut down the business, said the shooting was an isolated incident that only involved party attendees.

“This storefront was operating without any permit from the city and will be closed 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 on Sunday when they heard the commotion from the shooting.

“They turned around and went back into the building to wait,” Pizza said. “It’s stressful and scary when things like that happen. I know there are apartments above the room. … My heart goes out to those who have been cast down.

Neighbors should keep their eyes peeled and report suspicious activity as illegal sites pop up in the northwest, Chan said.

In January, the city closed 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 showcase, Sledzinska said.

Northwest Side leaders have vowed to crack down on illegal parties after 19-year-old Meagan Bilbo was killed and two others injured 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 location is disturbing and “senseless”.

“They don’t do anything until there’s a shooting,” O’Keefe said. “To me, it should be more obvious when there’s a place that’s in trouble… You know the result of these parties: death and mayhem.” 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 and see this is dangerous [situation]. Nothing good will come out of “illegal storefronts”.

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