Two tourists who were thoroughly enjoying a delightful seafood dinner at a West Town restaurant wound up being robbed and pistol-whipped by another patron who thought their table was too loud, prosecutors said.
“This is what they take from visiting our city,” bond court Judge Arthur Willis said after hearing the allegations Tuesday. “This is what they get.”
Everything was going great for the visitors from Michigan and Ohio as they dined with a table of friends on the second floor of Alegrias Seafood, 1024 North Ashland. But prosecutors say Claudious Payne was not happy about their enthusiasm.
Payne, 32, approached the table and told the group they were being loud and disrespectful, prosecutors said. He then complained to a manager who spoke with the offending diners. But the group partied on. Payne collected his family and went downstairs to leave, according to prosecutors.
Moments later, Payne allegedly took his restaurant bill, marched back up to the group’s table, and ordered one of the men to pay it. At one point, Payne became so angry, he allegedly flipped a large tray filled with seafood onto the man.
He then lifted his shirt to display a handgun in his waistband, according to the state. The diners tried to calm Payne down, but he pulled the gun from his pants line and pistol-whipped one of the men in the face, prosecutors said.
At that point, another member of the party took out his own credit card and told Payne to follow him downstairs so he could pay for the Payne family’s meal, prosecutors said. Surveillance video allegedly shows Payne with a gun in his hand following the man down the staircase.
On the first floor, the diner reportedly put his hands in the air and told the cashier he wanted to pay Payne’s bill. Payne pushed the man from behind to make him get closer to the cashier, prosecutors said.
Police, alerted by a 911 caller who begged them to get to the restaurant before someone got shot, arrested Payne about a block away, but cops never found a gun. Prosecutors said the victims identified him. Almost all of the events were captured on the restaurant’s surveillance recordings, according to prosecutors.
The man who got pistol-whipped was treated and released from a local hospital for a cut about his left eye, prosecutors said.
Payne has seven felony retail theft convictions in his past and one misdemeanor retail theft case pending, according to prosecutors. He’s also been convicted of attempted burglary and possessing a controlled substance, they said.
His defense attorney said Payne has six children and the allegations are “completely out of character…I’m sure there’s more to the story.”
Prosecutors charged Payne with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, attempted robbery while armed with a firearm, and two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
Judge Willis set bail for Payne at $250,000 and set an additional $5,000 bail for violating the terms of release in the pending retail theft case. Willis said Payne would need to go onto electronic monitoring if he can post a $25,500 deposit to get out of jail.