Dispute outside bar led to River North shooting, prosecutors say

Kenderic Artis (inset) and Snicker’s Bar and Grill. | CPD; Google

A dispute between two groups of people outside a River North bar spiraled into a shooting Saturday evening, prosecutors said as they announced charges in the case.

Kenderic Artis, age 21, is charged with attempted murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm in connection with the shooting near Dearborn and Illinois streets. Cook County Judge Mary Marubio ordered him held without bail Monday afternoon.

Artis and the 20-year-old victim did not know each other and they were with separate groups of people at Snickers Bar & Grill, 448 North State, prosecutors said.

Things started to unravel when the victim and a friend stepped outside the bar around 10 p.m. That’s when one of Artis’ friends, who prosecutors described as “very intoxicated,” walked up to the pair and repeatedly tried to sell them some pot. 

After being denied several times, the intoxicated man reportedly spat on the face and neck of the victim’s friend, which sparked a fight. Artis allegedly became involved.

The victim pulled Artis to the ground and Artis threatened to kill the man after he discovered a handgun in Artis’ backpack, prosecutors said. Cops on patrol saw the men fighting and separated the groups.

According to prosecutors, the victim and his companion went to move their car, but found themselves being antagonized again by Artis and another man who wanted to fight again. That’s when some of the victim’s friends emerged from Snickers and joined the simmering feud.

Artis, who allegedly told police that he thought he saw the victim reach into his waistband for a gun, drew his own weapon and shot the victim five times, prosecutors said — three times in his legs and twice in the shoulder. As the victim limped away, Artis allegedly fired his gun again. The victim remained hospitalized as of Monday morning.

An on-duty fireman who was working at a nearby CFD station gave police a description of the gunman. Police arrested Artis a short time later in the Loop and recovered a handgun from his backpack, prosecutors said.

During an interview with detectives, Artis admitted that the “pulled out the gun and did fire some shots,” according to prosecutors. Artis said, “he thought that dude was clutching the front of his pants.” He also allegedly admitted to discarding some of the spent shell casings from the shooting scene.

Artis has an Illinois Firearm Owner’s ID card, but he is not licensed to carry a concealed weapon, according to allegations made in court. He was convicted of aggravated robbery in DuPage County as a juvenile.

Courtney Smallwood, a public defender who was assigned to represent Artis during the bond hearing, said Artis was acting in self-defense. 

“He thought he was in danger,” Smallwood said. “The victim was reaching into his waistband.”

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com