Man charged with fatal shooting at Uptown Starbucks that also wounded boy, 12

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Police investigate a shooting that killed a man and wounded two other people, including a 12-year-old boy, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 at a Starbucks in the Uptown neighborhood. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

A Chatham man has been charged with a shooting last year at a Uptown neighborhood Starbucks that killed a man and wounded two others, including a 12-year-old boy.

On Thursday, a little more than 10 months since the shooting, Tikeo Sweeting, 20, stood before Judge Sophia Atcherson during a hearing at the Lieghton Criminal Court Building to face charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm in connection with the incident.

Sauvignon Watkins, a 28-year-old father of two from the Avalon Park neighborhood, was killed Nov. 2 last year when Sweeting allegedly opened fire just after 8 p.m. inside the coffee shop, located at 4753 N. Broadway, according to authorities.

At the time, Chicago police said they believed the shooting was related to a drug transaction and that Watkins was found with narcotics. Prosecutors did not provide a motive for the attack during the hearing.

Tikeo Sweeting | Cook County sheriff’s office

Tikeo Sweeting | Cook County sheriff’s office

With his face partially covered by a ski mask, Sweeting was allegedly captured by video surveillance wearing a “distinctive black jacket and distinctive jeans” as he walked near Lawrence Avenue and Broadway Street just before the shooting, Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Crone said in court.

The 12-year-old boy who was hurt had been waiting at the Starbucks for a ride home, Crone said. The boy was leaving behind Watkins, who was going outside to have a cigarette, when Sweeting allegedly pulled out his gun as he walked to the entrance of the coffee shop and opened fire. Both Watkins and the boy scrambled back inside and dove to take cover, Crone said.

Sweeting then stepped into the doorway and continued to fire into the Starbucks, Crone said. Watkins was struck in the neck, shoulder, back, bicep and abdomen and was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

The boy was struck in the ankle, thigh and lower back and was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he underwent surgery, Crone said. Another man, a 24-year-old, was shot in the left torso and taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center for treatment.

Sweeting ran away on Lawrence Avenue after the shooting and allegedly admitted to a third-party witness that he was the shooter, Crone said.

Sweetings’ attorney, Assistant Public Defender Margaret Domin, disputed the state’s accusation that he was the gunman, reminding Judge Atacherson that the shooter was wearing a mask that obscured his face. Domin, who noted that a weapon was never recovered, also said she would question the reliability of the third-party witness to whom Sweeting allegedly admitted to being the shooter.

Sweeting was being held without bail at the Cook County jail on three unrelated drug charges this year when he was charged with the shooting, according to court records.

Atcherson ordered Sweeting held without bail on the new charges and his next court appearance in the case was scheduled for Oct. 3.

Starbucks closed the Uptown store the day after the shooting to provide support for their employees and promised to work with police, the company said in a statement shortly after.

Ald. James Cappleman (46th) accused the business of being complicit in drug dealing at the location in a statement the following day.

“I will not tolerate businesses that do not work with the police and my office to maintain safety,” Cappleman said in a statement Friday. “We have had issues for years with illegal activity at this business, with very little response or help from Starbucks’ management to correct the problems.”

A spokesman for Starbucks said that the coffee shop chain was “disappointed by the alderman’s comments,” which do not align with the CPD’s version of events.

Cappleman was not immediately available for comment Thursday afternoon on whether those issued have since been addressed.

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