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Wicker Park Walgreens removed security guard months before fatal stabbing: attorney

“There are several items that need to be investigated, and the family deserves answers to their questions,” said Frank Sommario, an attorney for the family of Olga Maria Calderon.

Israel Alvarado III, second from right, fiance of Olga Maria Calderon, and family members gathered Wednesday at a memorial for Calderon outside Walgreens at 1372 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park.
Israel Alvarado III, second from right, the fiance of Olga Maria Calderon, and family members gathered Wednesday at a memorial for Calderon outside Walgreens, 1372 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Wicker Park.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The family of a murdered Walgreens employee called on the drugstore chain to explain why it hired and then removed a security guard from the store earlier this year.

“There are several items that need to be investigated, and the family deserves answers to their questions,” Frank Sommario, an attorney for the family of Olga Maria Calderon, told reporters Wednesday at a news conference outside the store.

Calderon, 32, was working at the Walgreens store in the 1300 block of North Milwaukee on Sept. 6 when she was fatally stabbed, according to Chicago police.

Days later, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved a first-degree murder charge against 18-year-old Sincere Williams of Old Town.

Police and prosecutors have said Williams went to the Walgreens to rob the store, and he fatally stabbed Calderon when she tried to get away. Williams is suspected of robbing the same Walgreens, as well as another store less than two miles away, in recent weeks, according to police.

Williams — who, according to his attorney, was diagnosed with schizophrenia — was ordered held without bail. The Chicago Sun-Times previously reported Williams was arrested in late May for allegedly burglarizing a west suburban gun shop but was released from electronic monitoring just days before he allegedly killed Calderon.

Sommario said the store where Calderon worked was robbed in February, which prompted the hiring of a security guard. That security guard was removed the next month, he said.

Olga Maria Calderon
Olga Maria Calderon
GoFundMe

“What we want to know is why did Walgreens remove the security from this location?” Sommario asked. “Who was the security firm involved? Who was responsible for this decision to remove the security? What type of security was left in place, knowing there was a robbery?”

Sommario said a workers’ compensation claim has been filed on behalf of Calderon’s 11-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

“Because Olga’s death arose out of and [occurred] in the course of her employment with Walgreens, her two minor children are entitled to death benefits pursuant to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act,” Sommario said. “It is my understanding that Walgreens is not disputing this.”

A Walgreens representative confirmed the drugstore chain is not contesting the workers’ comp claim but didn’t respond to questions about security protocols at the store before Calderon’s death.

“We continue to be very saddened by this tragic incident and again extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of our team member,” Walgreens spokesman Jim Cohn said in an emailed statement. “We have been in contact with the family and their representatives, offering our assistance and support. The safety of our customers and team members is our top priority, and Ms. Calderon’s family remains in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Calderon’s fiancé, Israel Alvarado III, said the stabbing “has shattered our families, left my children without a mother and left me without the most important person in my life.”

Alvarado remembered Calderon as “a good person, a loving mother, a daughter, sister, [and] friend.”

Contributing: Matthew Hendrickson