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Man Charged With Killing 2 In Christmas Morning Nightclub Shooting

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Taiwan Smith

Taiwan Smith is charged with the murder of a bouncer and a patron at the Victor Hotel nightclub in River West early Christmas morning. (Credit: Chicago Police)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A West Side man has been charged with the Christmas morning shooting and killing a bouncer and a partygoer celebrating his 30th birthday at a nightclub in the River West Warehouse District.

Taiwan Smith, 26, of the 3200 block of West Arthington Street, was charged with two counts of murder, aggravated battery and unlawful use of a weapon in connection with the shooting outside the Victor Hotel nightclub, at 311 N. Sangamon St., police said.

Bouncer Robert Warren, 34, and factory worker Jose Duckins, 30, were both killed in the gunfire when shots rang out around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, officials said. A third man was wounded.

The suspect had been thrown out of the club earlier that night, but returned and “just started shooting,” according to police and Warren’s niece April Bullock.

Warren, of the Rogers Park neighborhood, “was just doing his job and he was killed for no reason,” Bullock added. “He had kids — we’re all in shock.”

Duckins, of the East Garfield Park neighborhood, had gone to the club with four or five friends to celebrate his birthday, his distraught little sister Voshunda Duckins said Sunday. He was shot at close range in the chest, relatives said. Both he and Warren — who was also shot in the chest — were pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital of Cook County.
A 21-year-old friend of Duckins survived the shooting with a bullet wound to his arm. He was treated and released at Rush University Medical Center, police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli said.

Duckins had bought his 4-year-old son Jose Jr. a remote control car, clothes and Transformers toys for Christmas, his sister said as relatives mourned Sunday at the family home.

“He was a loving family man,” she said. “He was expecting another child and he didn’t deserve this.”

Smith had been convicted on several drug and weapons-related convictions dating back to 2003, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections. He was paroled in June after serving nearly three years of a six-year sentence for his most recent conviction, for narcotics possession.

Smith was scheduled to appear in bond court later Tuesday.

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