A four-time felon drove onto a West Loop sidewalk and intentionally ran over a man following an argument outside a nearby nightclub last weekend, prosecutors said Friday. Chicago police are also investigating a double shooting outside the same club that injured one of the business’ employees just hours before today’s court hearing. Still, no connection has been drawn between the two incidents.
According to prosecutor Danny Hanichak, Joseph Verdone, 25, went to The Mine Music Hall, 1431 West Lake, with his girlfriend shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday. Following a fight, club security guards kicked them and several other people out of the club around 4:18 a.m.
Hanichak said security allowed Verdone’s girlfriend to return inside to look for her lost shoes and other items, but she was kicked out again because she was making a scene.
Verdone, seated in a car on Lake Street, yelled for her to get into the vehicle and then stepped out to escort her to his car, according to Hanichak. As Verdone was doing that, 22-year-old Enrique Martinez, a former club employee who was there as a patron, made a comment, Hanichak said.
According to witnesses, Verdone and Martinez exchanged “heated words” before Verdone drove away and Martinez began walking toward Ogden Avenue with a companion.
Surveillance video shows Verdone’s car “carefully” driving onto the sidewalk behind Martinez and his companion and centering the vehicle on the walkway between a building and trees, Hanichak said.
Verdone then accelerated and drove directly at Martinez and his friend. The friend was able to move out of the way, but the car hit Martinez and dragged him for 60 feet, according to Hanichak. The car did not slow down until it reached a red light at Randolph Street, he said.
“There is absolutely zero chance whatsoever” that it was an accident, Hanichak alleged.
In addition to the murder, all of the activity at the club was also caught on high-quality video.
Police found Verdone’s car outside his Hillside home. It had been freshly washed, but there was body damage consistent with the collision, Hanichak said, and investigators found a substance that may be blood on its undercarriage. That material has been sent for testing.
Verdone was sentenced to prison in 2019 for manufacture-delivery of cannabis. He was on probation for delivery of methamphetamine when he was arrested in that case, Hanichak said. His previous felony convictions are both manufacture-delivery cases.
Judge Charles Beach ordered Verdone held without bail on a charge of first-degree murder.
Friday morning shooting
Two men, including one who works for The Mine, were shot near the nightclub around 3:15 a.m. Friday, according to police records. A Google listing for the bar says it is not open on Thursday nights.
Witnesses told police that a man fired shots toward a group of people on the sidewalk from a black sedan, then drove away, according to a CPD report.
A 46-year-old man was shot in the leg, and a 48-year-old man was shot in the shoulder, police said. Both victims were taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition.
Cops found nine shell casings at the scene. Witnesses said a Hispanic man wearing a face mask and blue jeans fired the shots, then fled in a black Infiniti, according to initial information from the scene. He was last seen driving south on Ogden Avenue.