Man shot, seriously wounded at Wicker Park club where mass shooting unfolded months earlier

Just after closing at 5 a.m. Sunday, roughly 10 bullets were fired into The Point at 1565 N. Milwaukee. A man, who isn’t believed to be the intended target, was shot in the right eye.

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The Point Music Venue and Bar located at 1565 North Milwaukee Avenue, in the Wicker Park neighborhood, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Four months after a mass shooting unfolded near the doorstep of a Wicker Park club, a 29-year-old man was seriously wounded early Sunday when a hail of gunfire erupted again and tore into the bar and music venue.

Just after closing at 5 a.m., roughly 10 bullets were fired into The Point at 1565 N. Milwaukee, which is located on a hot nightlife and retail strip. The victim, who isn’t believed to be the intended target, was struck in the right eye and later rushed to Stroger Hospital, according to Chicago police and a law enforcement source.

The Point’s owner, Jun Lin, said a squad car had been parked outside of the club until 5 a.m. for extra precaution, but he told the officers to leave around then. About five minutes after the car pulled away, Lin said someone began firing into the bar, where a Phish cover band had performed earlier.

Officers ultimately responded to multiple calls of gunfire and found the victim bleeding on the floor of the club, according to an internal police report. The shooter was seen firing into the bar from across the street before running off, according to the report.

“I saw on camera, he walked in front of the bar [and] didn’t come in,” Lin said. “I don’t know if he was inside earlier or not. ... He walked across the street and started shooting.”

The man who was struck had just left work at another bar and stopped at The Point when the shots rang out, the law enforcement source said.

The attack comes on the heels of a shootout Oct. 10 outside The Point that left one of four gunmen dead and wounded four bystanders, Cook County prosecutors said days later when another shooter was hit with multiple charges, including attempted murder.

As with Sunday’s shooting, the gunfire broke out shortly after The Point closed.

Lin shut down the club following an altercation between patrons that October morning and sent everyone out into the street, police said at the time. He previously told the Sun-Times he twice called the cops to disperse the unruly crowd.

Ahead of the second violent incident, Lin said he had been working closely with officers in the area and was pleased with their help. But now he’s at a loss for what to do next.

Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) said the proximity of the two shootings and other apparent connections are “really frustrating.”

“One time can feel like a chance occurrence,” La Spata said in an interview. “Twice starts to feel like a pattern.”

He said he hopes to meet with the club owners and officials from the Shakespeare police district to discuss “what changes we need to see,” including a possible reduction in hours that could close the club earlier. The Point holds a Late Hour Liquor License, meaning it can stay open until 4 a.m. throughout much of the week and keep the doors open an extra hour on Sunday.

Meanwhile, residents of the area who have grown increasingly vocal about crime continue to raise concerns.

Sam Royko, son of Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Mike Royko, started the Greater West Town Community Coalition after his girlfriend was carjacked last year near Ashland Avenue and Division Street. The coalition is now focused on understanding the current rise in certain crimes and figuring out “what we can start doing about it,” Royko said.

“I understand in Chicago that we have long-term systemic issues that need to be addressed here, but we also need to start looking at why there’s this uptick in the short term,” Royko said. “And we need to start holding our public officials and our institutions accountable for finding a way to improve things.”

He said his group is actively advocating for “more transparency, better access to data [and] more communication and coordination between those institutions and public officials.”

La Spata similarly called for a “multifaceted” response to crime. That includes collaborating with local police officials to add POD cameras and license plate readers “where they feel like it’s strategic,” and enforcing an overnight parking ban on Milwaukee Avenue to disrupt a trend of late night street partying, he said.

In addition, he called for more resources for violence prevention workers and for trained mental health responders to answer certain calls in the area.

“I have a lot of confidence that these kinds of initiatives, policies, this kind of coordination is going to lead to better results for our community,” the alderperson said.

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