|Maurice Delaney (inset) and the Iyanze restaurant party room | Facebook, Iyanze|
Chicago police have identified one of the two men who reportedly shot each other to death in an Uptown restaurant’s party room early on New Year’s Day.
38-year-old Maurice “Head” Delaney of Skokie was pronounced dead at 5:19 a.m. yesterday by doctors at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, about an hour after the shooting.
Police have not yet identified the second man.
They were the first two recorded homicide victims of the year in Chicago.
Cops raced to Iyanze Bolat West African Cuisine shortly before 4:30 a.m. Sunday after callers reported shots fired in the “bar area” of the two-story business at 4623 North Broadway.
Witnesses told police that shots rang out as a party in the second-floor lounge area was ending.
“I’m still in shock what I saw,” Suzette Bariffe said on Facebook later. “[Delaney’s sister] and I were just kicking at the top of the stairs with Maurice ‘Head’ Delaney, getting ready to leave. He asked us if we were good.”
Then, the shooting began.
“To run out the club past his body….I just fell to my knees praying. IT’S TOO MUCH. I’m praying for Heads wife, children, mother, family, and loved ones,” Bariffe said.
Also in shock was Delaney friend Danielle Dean. “We lost a real good dude. He was a real father, brother, friend. He helped everybody. To know bro was to love him. This s*** is crazy. So many good memories.”
Yet a third friend remembered Delaney as a “North Pole legend.” The “North Pole” refers to a faction of the Gangster Disciples street gang that is based near Thorndale and Winthrop on the city’s Far North Side.
Police continue to actively investigate the shootings, an indication that the circumstances may not be as cut-and-dried as officials have said.
Shell casings that were found after a man was seen shooting a gun on a nearby side street moments after the killings have been collected. The casings do not match those found inside the restaurant.
Multiple individuals have reported that no firearms were recovered at the shooting scene. Police have not responded to inquiries seeking comment on those reports.