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Near West Side Liquor Store Padlocked After Four Recent Shootings

CHICAGO (CBS) — A Near West Side liquor store identified by Chicago Police as a “hot spot for gang loitering” was padlocked Saturday after four shootings near the store since June 18.

Police Supt. Eddie Johnson announced the closing of Adams Food & Liquor, 219 S. Western Ave., after a joint operation by the Chicago Police Department’s Gresham and Near West Districts.

“District intelligence officers have reported persistent gang and narcotic loitering at that location,” Johnson told a news conference called to update reporters on several weekend enforcement initiatives. “It is vital that we target these locations that contribute to the violence on our streets.”

Store owners could not be reached for comment.

The doors to Adams Food & Liquors were padlocked Saturday, two days after a shooting in the 200 block of South Western left a 25-year-old man critically injured.

It was the fourth shooting on that same block since June 18, Johnson said.

Local Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) applauded the closing as “long overdue.”

“We actually tried to get `em shut down years ago. … It’s hard to shut these places down,” Burnett said. “Hopefully, this will be the tipping point [and] it will stay closed. A lot of things have happened on that corner.”

Burnett said he’s been “trying to do everything we can to get them closed” ever since the liquor store became part of his ward when boundaries were redrawn in January 2012.

“Definitely, it’s frustrating. The unfortunate thing is, this isn’t the first time they’ve been closed,” Burnett said. “Even when they’ve been closed before, you still have had challenges when the store wasn’t open. The store plays a part in it. But, we have to change the culture on that corner of being a hang-out situation. And we’re working on that.”

Former Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), who gave up his City Council seat to run for mayor in 2015, also worked hard to close Adams Food & Liquors, only to have the store remain open.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2017. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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