Man shot, critically injured in River North

CHICAGO — A man is in critical condition after being shot in River North overnight, Chicago police said.

Witnesses told police they saw a fight and then heard shots fired in the 300 block of West Ontario around 1:30 a.m. A 26-year-old man suffered gunshot wounds throughout his body, police said. Someone loaded him into an SUV-style limousine and drove him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He is in critical condition.

Investigators found 20 shell casings and a bloody firearm in a surface parking lot on the corner of Franklin and Ontario streets. One car had several bullet holes in it.

Several nightclubs are in the immediate area, keeping the neighborhood busy as patrons come and go until the early morning.

So far this year, nine people have been shot in River North. That’s down from 16 at this point last year but up from eight in 2021. The neighborhood had two shooting victims as of this date in 2020.

Club blamed for ambush

Just two weeks ago, dozens of shots were fired during a shocking daytime ambush that left a man critically injured just a block away from this morning’s shooting. The area’s alderman linked that crime to a nearby club.

Surveillance video showed the victim walking down the 300 block of West Erie as a group of men stepped out of a vehicle to ambush him around 6:30 p.m. The footage showed one of the gunmen chasing the victim down the street with a large firearm extended toward the victim.

“Based on preliminary findings, the victim of the shooting was a patron of Blüm [nightclub], and the shooter(s) came downtown to seek him out,” Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) wrote in a letter to neighbors.

“The shooting … placed potentially dozens of lives at risk. I live just a few blocks away and know this happened at a time of day when many residents are out on the neighborhood streets. It is a miracle more people weren’t injured or killed,” Reilly wrote.

“I have asked the local police commander and liquor commissioner to investigate the nightclub Blum and, if witness reports are substantiated, initiate the license revocation process to shut them down,” he continued.

The alderman pointed out that there was a shooting outside the nightclub in 2021 when it operated as Clutch Bar. Reilly also shared a letter he wrote to “strongly” urge the local liquor commissioner to “immediately close” Blüm.

“River North residents should not be forced to endure the deleterious impact that these problem liquor establishments are having on our community. Enough is enough,” Reilly fumed.

He asked the 18th District commander to increase police presence on Erie Street and at a nearby park where people gather for nighttime parties.

Recent River North shootings

An off-duty Michigan police officer accidentally shot himself and another person while handling his firearm inside their room at Hotel Chicago Downtown, 333 North Dearborn, on May 27. No charges were filed.

On May 14, three people were shot in the Hubbard Street nightlife district. At the time, CPD said the victims were on the sidewalk near 6 West Hubbard when the occupants of two vehicles began shooting at each other, striking the bystanders. Officers at the scene said at least one gunman fired from a black tow truck that fled north on State Street after the shooting. A witness who spoke with CWBChicago said both gunmen were in tow trucks.

But CWBChicago has subsequently learned that investigators began to suspect that at least one of the victims was targeted. A source, citing early information, said two tow trucks acted as shields for the gunman, who fired from a third tow truck, striking the victims. A passerby captured video of the scene just moments after the trucks sped from the area.

No arrests have been announced.

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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