|Alderman Brendan Reilly | Ward42Chicago.com|
A powerful downtown alderman is calling on the Chicago Liquor Control Commission to be “far more aggressive” with the city’s nightclubs after a River North bar bouncer was shot to death and the venue’s owner was injured by gunfire early Friday.
Alderman Brendan Reilly (42) this morning said, “My wife and I live 100 feet from where this occurred. The nearby neighbors and I have been sounding the alarm bells and lodging complaints about these clubs and the criminal activity we witness every weekend, for YEARS.”
Chicago police said a 28-year-old man was shot to death and a 58-year-old man was wounded by bullet fragments when a man opened fire during a dispute outside Sound-Bar, 226 West Ontario, around 12:10 a.m. The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the younger man as Sherman Bailey, a bouncer at the club. Multiple hospitality industry sources identified the surviving victim as long-time Sound-Bar owner Mark Jurcyzk.
“We need the Liquor Commission to be far more aggressive with these businesses,” Reilly said this morning. “I’ve been asking for that for years. And now here we are: a young man lost his life last night. I’ve had it.”
The alderman has asked the Chicago Police Department to issue a summary closure of Sound-Bar.
“These problem clubs, in aggregate, are degrading the quality of life in River North. Every weekend we witness criminal activity around these venues and most weekends fights are reported as well.”
The 18th (Near North) Police District assigns assets to focus on the neighborhood’s nightlife destinations, Reilly said, “but police resources are stretched thin at this time of night, with so many late hour venues.”
“I’m incredibly frustrated that the city’s ‘due process’ for problem liquor licenses protects club owners at the expense of neighbors.”
While Reilly did not single out any venues by name, his ward is also home to the Bottled Blonde, a club at 504 North Wells that has managed to survive despite recurring neighborhood complaints and problems with the city.
Reilly pointed out that he used menu funds last year to install police surveillance cameras in the area “because of my concern about the criminal activity around these clubs.”
CPD detectives are using footage from those new cameras to track down the Sound-Bar shooter, Reilly said.
“A year ago, I placed liquor license moratoria on every block in River North, to prevent new clubs from opening,” Reilly recalled. “I’m doing everything I can to try to address this – but we really need more help from the Liquor Commission to address the root of the problem.”
In March 2018, CWBChicago reported that another River North club, Spybar, had operated without a state liquor license for twenty months before city authorities caught on to the problem.
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