CHICAGO (CBS) — As police search for the Rogers Park killer, some residents say the fear there is taking its toll on the neighborhood.
Is fear driving diners away from places like South of the Border? Owner Antonio Diaz said it hasn’t been business as usual following two slayings in Rogers Park three weeks ago.
“I have walked a few people home when they come here late at night,” Diaz said.
Douglass Watts, 73, was shot and killed on Sept. 30 while walking his dogs. About 36 hours later, 24-year-old Eliyahu Moscowitz was gunned down about a half mile away.
Police have said both men were killed with the same gun, and have released surveillance images of the suspect, a man dressed in all black, who likely lives in the area.
That has resulted in some watching and worrying if others are wearing all dark clothing.
“I mean, you just think about it,” said Buddy King, a regular customer at South of the Border.
King and Diaz have noticed an irregularity recently; fewer customers at South of the Border and other businesses in Rogers Park.
“It’s just slow for everybody, I think,” Diaz said.
Other restaurants and bars have been singing a similar tune; some estimating up to a 25 percent dip in sales since the crimes.
“The first week, it was like 10-20 percent, somewhere in there,” Diaz said. “Then, after that, it has been up and down.”
While some business bottom lines and nerves remain shaken in Rogers Park, one organization has been working to raise $5,000 to increase the reward money for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the two slayings.
Bill Morton, president of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce, said he’s started a GoFundMe campaign to add to the $22,000 reward already being offered in the case.
“Hopefully this will help raise the stakes,” he said.
On Sunday, friends held a memorial for Watts at the Glenwood, a Rogers Park tavern where he and his husband were regulars.
Just outside, some pointed to improving traffic at the farmers market as a sign business and life is getting back to normal.
“Well, we’re getting back, but it would be nice to know who is doing this,” King said.
Songs provide an escape for some at South of the Border, but some continue to dine with a serving of unease.
“Hopefully they can put this guy behind bars,” Diaz said.
Investigators said there is no new information in the search for the killer.