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Pastors Want Convenience Store Closed, Claim It’s A Haven For Gangbangers

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Several local pastors are calling for the city to close the Bishop Golden convenience store at 79th and Bishop streets, after six people were shot -- one fatally -- inside the store last month. They say the store has a track record of trouble and is a hangout for gangbangers. (Credit: CBS)

Several local pastors are calling for the city to close the Bishop Golden convenience store at 79th and Bishop streets, after six people were shot — one fatally — inside the store last month. They say the store has a track record of trouble and is a hangout for gangbangers. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Several Chicago pastors want the city to shut down a convenience store in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood, where six people were shot last week – one of them fatally.

CBS 2′s Roseanne Tellez reports Rev. Michael Pfleger and several other Chicago pastors gathered at the Bishop Golden store at 79th and Bishop streets Tuesday afternoon to urge the city to pull the store’s licenses.

Pfleger, pastor of nearby St. Sabina Church, said the store is essentially a street office for gangbangers. He has said people should be as outraged about the shootings there as they are about the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports


Pfleger also said the store owners are directly complicit in the neighborhood’s gang violence.

“It has had citations against it a number of times for selling cigarettes to minors … there’s been arrests inside the store, arrests outside the store, and now we have a murder and five people shot in the store,” Pfleger said.

One man was killed and five others were injured inside the store on March 29 when two men entered the store and opened fire on the people inside. Police said the suspects fled the scene in a silver SUV.

Detectives have been reviewing footage from a Chicago Police surveillance camera across the street from the store, but so far there have been no arrests.

The local pastors said the store has a track record of trouble. Police confirmed they have made 28 arrests near the store since January, but local residents have mixed opinions about whether to shut it down.

Brianna Harris, who lives near store, said the store should be closed, because “safety is the main part.”

But fellow Auburn-Gresham resident Ryan Green said “It’s not the store owner’s fault, you know? He does give the guys some jobs, he lets them clean up and sweep. They bring the drama against themselves. You guys close this, they’re just going to find somewhere else to bring the drama.

Residents said the store has been closed since the shooting. Many hope it will stay that way.

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