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Store video captured shootout that left 3 employees, suspect dead

Members of the Chicago Police Department are on the scene where five people were shot and four killed at a neighborhood store in the 500 block of east 130th St. in Chicago late Wednesday night. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

A wild shootout at a far South Side convenience store that left four dead and two injured was captured on tape by a security video camera, police said.

The attempted armed robbery Wednesday night at The Connect, a store which caters to Altgeld Garden residents in the 500 block of East 130th St., quickly devolved into a several minutes long, close-quarters gun fight that left a store worker, a security guard, a salesman making a delivery and one of the suspected teen robbers dead, authorities and relatives of the dead men said.

Suspected robber Alex Spikes, 17, was fatally shot after security guard Michael Banks, 30, of Hobart, Indiana, returned fire around 9:30 p.m., authorities said.

Store worker Weam “Weezy” Salem, 25, of south suburban Worth, also was killed, as was father-of-five Ihab Arafen, 45, of south suburban Lansing.

Arafen was making a delivery of cell phones to the store when he was caught in the middle of the gunfight, his son Zaid said.

Police were Thursday interviewing two people of interest, including a 17-year-old boy who survived a gunshot to the thigh and is considered a second suspect, police said.

A woman who was shot multiple times at the store remained Thursday in serious condition at Roseland Community Hospital.

Authorities said they are looking into an allegation that the robbers believed The Connect, which sells everything from groceries to beauty products to electronics, also was trading in stolen goods.

But Zaid Arafen said his father had nothing to do with the dispute, calling the gunmen who burst into the store “not human.”

“They didn’t know my dad and they don’t know the suffering they’ve caused,” he said.

Salem’s brother-in-law Mohammad Ismail said Salem was a former student at Oak Lawn High School who loved basketball and his independence.

Banks’s father, Larry Jacobs, fought back tears as he described how his son had only recently started working security at the store.

“He didn’t talk with his family about it because he knew it was a dangerous job and he didn’t want them to worry,” he said, adding that Banks’ death leaves two young children and two step-children without a father.

The bullet-ridden store – one of only three that serve the immediate Altgeld Gardens community – was shuttered Thursday.