A shooting at a birthday party on the Northwest Side of the city early Sunday morning killed three people and left another in critical condition. At 2:26 a.m., there was a shooting at the Vera Lounge in the 5500 block of West School Street.
Maria Vera, who was 25 years old, had a birthday party in the lounge with her family and friends. Police said that an argument in the bar turned into a fight that spread out into the street. That’s when a man fired shots and drove away in a dark SUV.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office has since found out who the people who died were. Ricky Vera, 50, whose brother owns the bar, was shot in the head and chest and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Maria Vera, his daughter, was shot in the head and taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where she was said to be in critical condition. Mario Pozuelos, 26, from Franklin Park, and Mercedes Tavares, 24, from Chicago Heights, both had multiple gunshot wounds and were taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital. Both of them were said to be dead.
Oscar Ortiz, who is friends with Ricky Vera, said that the fight happened while they were celebrating Maria’s birthday on Saturday night. Ortiz said, “This man was fighting with his daughter, so he came out and said, ‘Hey, that’s my daughter.’ The man just turned to him, walked to his car, came back, and shot him dead.”
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People who knew Maria and Ricky said that Maria was kind and loving and that Ricky was a family man. Ortiz said, “He was a great husband, grandfather, father, and brother, and he welcomed everyone into his home.”
A video that was shared on social media shows that the lounge was full of people about an hour before the fighting started outside. Violence interrupters from Rincon Family Services were out on the streets in Portage Park on Sunday during the day to help the community and try to stop this from happening again.
“This will not happen in my neighborhood. I live here. I’ve lived here for 20 years or so. This will not happen, “Rosario Villalobos from Rincon Family Services said the same thing. Ortiz wants everyone to act more like his friend Ricky until the police find out who did it.
“Just treat people well. Smile at people. Make people laugh. Give people a smile. Believe people, “he said. What started the fight that led to the shooting is not clear. No one was being held on Sunday night.
CPDTip.com is a website that people can use to give information to the police.