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City employee shot dead outside Starbucks near CPD headquarters

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson, department spokesman Frank Giancamilli and First Deputy Supt. John Escalante near shooting scene. |Andy Grimm/For Sun-Times

A “completely innocent” woman outside a Starbucks at 35th and State was shot and killed Friday afternoon, while another man, a gang member who was the intended target, was critically injured in a shooting just down the block from Chicago Police headquarters that shows “how brazen” the most violent people in the city have become, Chicago’s top cop said.

“This incident right here highlights what I’ve been saying for the past month and a half about how brazen these violent offenders are,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said at news conference shortly after the shooting. Coincidentally, Johnson and his top brass had been holding a news conference at police headquarters about a mass arrest of gang members around the time of the shooting.

Yvonne Nelson, 49, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Nelson, of the 4900 block of South Vincennes, was taken to Stroger Hospital, where she died at 4:33 p.m., authorities said. She had been a communications operator for 311 City Services since 2002, according to a statement from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time. She will be deeply missed by her fellow staff at 311,” an OEMC statement said.

A woman was fatally shot, and a man critically injured outside a Starbucks at 35th and State Friday afternoon. | Andy Grimm/For Sun-Times

A woman was fatally shot, and a man critically injured outside a Starbucks at 35th and State Friday afternoon. | Andy Grimm/For Sun-Times

At 3:52 p.m., a 19-year-old man had flagged down officers in the 3500 block of South State saying he had been shot; officers then found Nelson on a sidewalk nearby, police said.

The woman in her late 40s was shot in the chest about 4 p.m., while the man in his 20s was shot multiple times, police said. Officers spread across the area in a manhunt for the suspect.

The man who was shot was an employee at the Jimmy John’s restaurant a few doors west of the Starbucks, and was walking to deposit his paycheck at a bank around the corner from the coffee shop when he was shot, said franchise co-owner Diane Landry. Landry took issue with Johnson’s characterization of the victim as both the “intended target” of the shooting and “documented gang member.”

“Maybe (he was) when he was 15 or something,” said Landry, who hired him through a program for neighborhood youth. Landry said the victim may have had some sort of troubles as a teenager, but had no problems during the three-plus years he’d worked for her.

“He was a great guy. He never missed a shift, and he was always picking up shifts for other people,” she said, noting the store manager was at the hospital with the victim’s family. “We never had anyone coming into the store looking for him or anything, or any problems at all. He is just a nice guy.”