Residents, Ald. Reilly call for closure of River North bar after 8 wounded in mass shooting


Eight people were wounded in a shooting early Sunday outside a restaurant in River North, and residents and the local alderperson want the establishment shut down.

A group of people were fighting outside Blum restaurant and bar about 2:40 a.m. in the 300 block of West Erie Street when gunfire erupted, Chicago police said.

Five people were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with gunshot wounds. Two men were in critical condition. A 27-year-old woman, a 25-year-old man and a 27-year-old man were in good condition or stabilized at the hospital.

Three others who were also shot were taken to Stroger Hospital: A 23-year-old woman, a 43-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man, police said. The man and the older woman were in critical condition.

Police said no arrests have been made, and detectives were investigating the circumstances of the shooting.

In a message to the community, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) called the restaurant a “bad establishment” and said he’s been working to facilitate the sale of the building to have Blum shut down. The property is under contract to be sold next month, Reilly said.

He also said he’s asked CPD to issue a summary closure order to ensure it doesn’t open before the building is sold next month and Blum is evicted.


A shooting left eight people wounded outside Blum in River North.

Emmanuel Camarillo/Sun-Times

“Many of the gun crimes being committed downtown overnight are related to fights originating at these late-hour clubs, yet these operators are allowed to remain open,” Reilly said. “It should not require a mass shooting to result in the closure of a problem nightclub. River North residents and I have been sounding the alarm to the city about Blum for years — yet the city has done nothing to discipline the club.”

Operators of the restaurant, bar and nightclub couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Sunday afternoon, all that remained of the night’s violence outside the restaurant were crumpled red plastic cups, empty liquor bottles and empty wound dressing packs. Some of the restaurant’s windows were damaged by bullets.

River North resident Brendan Hill said he and his fiancee were woken up by 30 gunshots Sunday morning. They thought it might have been fireworks at first, but then saw police flood the block.

“This is probably the second or third time that we have heard gunshots, so unfortunately we weren’t too panicked because we knew what was happening, and we are in a safe, guarded building,” Hill said.

Hill said he wasn’t surprised that the shooting happened outside the restaurant because it’s common for large crowds to gather there late at night or early in the morning.

“It’s not a place you want to be because there’s large groups in the parking lot, and a lot of individuals that seem like they are causing chaos,” Hill said, adding that a bouncer at the location was shot two years ago when it was known as Clutch.

“Places and establishments like this should not be able to persist,” Hill said. “They should be closed, and the mayor should do something about it.”

Michelle, who also lives in the area, called the restaurant a “bad, bad, bad, place” and said “they should shut it down.” She asked to be identified only be her first name for her safety.

Frank Hermiz, who works in the area and lives nearby, said shootings seem to be happening more often in locations previously thought of as safe.

“Nowadays it seems like it’s more common now, even if it’s downtown it’s still happening,” Hermiz said. “I’m definitely more attentive of my surroundings if I do bike or walk to work.”

Hill said that he and his fiancee are considering moving to a safer location when they decided to have a family.

“I think at some point when we have kids especially, moving out to the suburbs or safer areas of Chicago is going to be a necessity, because we do not want our kids to have exposure to things like this,” he said.


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