CHICAGO — A bar fight in Portage Park on the Northwest Side turned fatal early Sunday morning after gunfire broke out, leaving three people dead and one person in critical condition, Chicago police said.
The shooting occurred around 2:30 a.m. shortly after a brawl inside a bar near Central Avenue and School Street spilled out of the tavern and into the street, according to police.
The gunman fired multiple gunshots that struck four people before fleeing in a dark SUV, police Cmdr. Joseph Brennan told reporters Sunday morning.
A neighbor, who asked not to be named for safety reasons, said the sound of three gunshots in quick succession woke him up after 2 a.m. Sunday.
He estimated he heard more than 10 gunshots and immediately called 911. Then he said he heard the sound of wailing.
”I’ve never heard (gunshots) so close and so many and so quickly,” said the man, who said he has lived on the block for more than 20 years.
Around the corner from the residence-lined street are two bars. About once a month, often late on a Friday or Saturday, Central Avenue is loud as people end their night, with music blasting from cars or the occasional argument, he said.
”It’s disturbing and distracting, but it’s not dangerous,” he said. “What I saw yesterday was a whole new level of insanity.”
A 50-year-old man was shot in the head and chest and was pronounced dead at the scene. A 26-year-old man and 24-year-old woman were transported with gunshot wounds to Mount Sinai Hospital, where they died, police said.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified the victims as Ricky Vera, 50, of an unknown address, Mario Pozuelos, 26, of Franklin Park, and Mercedes Tavares, 24, of Chicago Heights.
A 25-year-old woman who was shot in the head remains in critical condition. She was transported by the Chicago Fire Department to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, police said.
Brennan provided few details, saying the investigation remained active as detectives canvassed the area for surveillance footage and eyewitnesses. No one was in custody. Detectives from Area Five are investigating.
Most of the block was taped off until about 7 a.m. Sunday. By afternoon, the concrete still looked wet from where an ambulance had sprayed blood off the road, the neighbor said.
Near his house stood two burning candles, white flowers and discarded police tape. The memorial marked the site where one of the bodies laid, he said.
”It was just brutal,” he said. “And final. I’ve haven’t slept all day.”