Liquor store clerk exchanges gunfire during West Ridge robbery attempt, putting area merchants on edge

The robbers entered the store around 10:30 p.m. Monday, pointed guns at the clerk and demanded money, according to Chicago police. Local business owners have heard of more robberies in the area and say they would like police to do more to keep them safe.

SHARE Liquor store clerk exchanges gunfire during West Ridge robbery attempt, putting area merchants on edge
California Food and Liquors at 6343 N. California Ave. in West Ridge, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023.

California Food and Liquors at 6343 N. California Ave. in West Ridge was robbed around 10:30 p.m. Monday. The robbers pointed guns at the clerk and demanded money from the register, according to Chicago police.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

A liquor store clerk exchanged gunfire with two robbers after he was hit on the head with a bottle in the West Ridge neighborhood Monday night.

The robbers entered California Food and Liquors, 6343 N. California Ave., around 10:30 p.m., pointed guns at the clerk and demanded money from the register, according to Chicago police.

The clerk began struggling with one of the robbers who reached for a bottle and hit the clerk, police said. The clerk then grabbed a gun and exchanged gunfire with the robbers as they fled. They did not take any money before fleeing, according to a police spokesperson.

The clerk was taken to St. Francis Hospital, where he was listed in serious condition with lacerations to the head.

No one was in custody.

Monday’s attempted armed robbery raised safety concerns among local business owners.

Ammar Sadaqa, who has owned the Dollar Inn Plus at 2758 W. Devon Ave. for nine years, said this isn’t the first robbery he’s heard of in the area. Sadaqa said he used to close at 10 p.m. but has shortened his hours, first to 9, then to 8. Now, after this last robbery, he’s thinking about closing at 7 p.m.

Ammar Sadaqa, owner of Dollar Inn Plus, stands for a photo at his store after speaking about the increase in crime in West Ridge, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. An employee at California Food and Liquor down the street was injured during a robbery at the store, the most recent one after another liquor store was robbed less than a month ago.

Ammar Sadaqa, owner of Dollar Inn Plus, has been closing his shop earlier because of safety concerns, and he’s thinking of closing even earlier after Monday’s robbery at a nearby liquor store.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

“I have a big family. Of course, I want to go home safe,” he said.

Sadaqa said he wishes police would do more to keep the business owners in the area safe.

“We need them to protect us,” he said. “It affects our business, too.”

Atheer Ali, who owns First Lady Beauty Salon, said the area is generally quiet. Yet, especially because of recent robberies, Ali said it doesn’t necessarily feel safe.

Ali, who said two of the employees at the liquor store are customers at his salon, and he was shocked to hear the news.

For Manishe Patel, the news was a reminder of the robbery at Issha Liquors, 2901 W. Devon Ave., two weeks ago. Patel, an 18-year employee of the liquor store, said her brother got eight stitches after being robbed at gunpoint.

Manishe Patel, manager of Issha Liquors poses for a photo at Issha Liquors in West Ridge, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. The family owned liquor store fell victim to an attempted robbery that occurred on Oct. 24th.

Manishe Patel is a manager of Issha Liquors, 2901 W. Devon Ave., which was robbed two weeks ago.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

She said she was in the store with her brother, husband, mom and nephew, when two people came in with guns, took her wallet and asked for money from the register.

“It was really scary,” she said.

At the time, she thought she might die, she said.

Despite an investigation, Patel said police weren’t able to catch the culprits. The liquor store closes at 10 p.m., but Patel said she’s thinking about closing at 8 p.m. since it’s darker earlier and she fears for her safety at night.

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