Robber and clerk exchanged gunfire during River North store hold-up, police say

Update January 10, 5:01 p.m. — Area Three detectives just issued a community alert that formally links the three robberies listed in our story. The robber forced victims to open a safe and cash registers and fled with cash and other property on foot, the alert said.

It describes the suspect as a Black male between 20- and 25-years-old who stands 5’7″ or 5’8″ tall wearing a black hoodie, black mask, blue jeans, and white gym shoes.

A store employee exchanged gunfire with another man during an armed robbery on Sunday afternoon in River North, police said. No injuries were reported, but a witness said the store’s glass, which faces busy Ontario Street, was shot out.

Police suspect the same robber held up two more stores in the Loop less than an hour later.

Cops responded to calls of shots fired and flying glass on the first block of West Ontario around 1:50 p.m. A CPD spokesperson said an armed robber pulled out a gun inside the store, but an employee also pulled out a gun.

“There was an exchange of gunfire between the victim and the offender,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. The robber escaped with a cellphone.

Police did not identify the store, but officers entered Mystical Kicks and Mystical Smokes, which sells gym shoes, CBD products, and vaping supplies at 33 West Ontario. Investigators were verifying the employee’s concealed carry credentials.

Investigators determined that the man escaped on a southbound Red Line train at the Grand station.

Then, two armed robberies were reported in quick succession in the Loop. The 7-Eleven at 535 South State and Wingstop, 12 East Harrison, were both reportedly targeted around 2:25 p.m. by a man who displayed a handgun and closely resembled the River North suspect, according to officers at the scene.

In River North, the man was described as Black, about 6’2″ tall, 25- and 30-years-old. He wore a green glove, a dark balaclava, a dark shirt, dark ripped jeans, and black and white Jordan gym shoes.

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