By Jeremy Ross

CHICAGO (CBS) — A worker at a Walgreens in Wicker Park was stabbed and killed during daylight business hours Sunday.

The 32-year-old woman was working at the Walgreens at 1372 N. Milwaukee Ave. around 9:30 a.m., when she was approached by an unknown person with a knife, police said. She was stabbed multiple times, and pronounced dead on the scene.

On Sunday evening, the Walgreens was shuttered, but police tape had come down. More than a dozen investigators were scouring the area for surveillance video from the Walgreens itself and nearby businesses.

The details of the crime were still unfolding late Sunday afternoon, but the initial call over police radio was chilling.

“The caller just found the female coworker on the floor bleeding,” the dispatcher is heard saying.

“Detectives are canvassing the area now,” said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Jose Jara. “Police are looking for an individual wearing a light-colored top, dark pants, and white gym shoes.”

Inside the Walgreens, outside in the parking lot, and in the bustling and popular neighborhood next door, police were searching for clues into who was responsible for the deadly stabbing.

“The offender walked into the store, observes the victim – who is an employee of the store – fatally stabs her,” Officer Jara said. “We’re not sure if it was a robbery or if it was just a random act of violence.”

“I go here every other day,” a neighbor said. “I probably did know her.”

“I hope it doesn’t happen to other people out here,” said another neighbor, Jash Shah. “I really feel bad for her and her family, you know, on a Sunday morning, having to wake up to such kind of news. I send my condolences to them.”

Shah saw the police response at Milwaukee and Wolcott avenues unfold beginning around 9:30 a.m.

He is saddened about the violent crime, and he added he is fortunate that he and his family were not there during the attack.

“I basically look at this Walgreens every day, so it’s just mixed emotions,” Shah said.

Crisis responder Andrew Holmes was at the scene late Sunday.

“With a tragedy like this, they’re hurting,” Holmes said.

Holmes said the Walgreens worker was not a longtime employee, but she will be missed by coworkers and especially loved ones.

“She has two small children and you know, it’s just – they’re a close-knit family, and they just want some privacy right now,” Holmes said.

Over the past several days, police have tracked violent crimes at other Walgreens stores or other drugstores in the area – including two this past Wednesday.

Police said in both incidents, a man, armed with a knife with a red handle, went into a pharmacy and demanded money. In one case he successfully took money from the store. He fled the scene in both incidents.

One of those incidents took place at 7:20 a.m. Wednesday, a short walk away from the Wicker Park scene at a Walgreens at North and Western avenues. The other took place 17 minutes later at the very same Walgreens on Milwaukee Avenue where the murder happened Sunday morning.

Investigators on Sunday said they were looking into whether those crimes were connected to the fatal stabbing.

“I’m sure they’re going to work on that tomorrow, yes,” said Officer Jara.

“It’s scary. It’s scary,” Shah said. “I hope they catch them and I hope the family gets the justice that they deserve.”

Holmes also called for justice.

“With all the surveillance footage that may be down here, you know, you might have run across one of those cameras,” Holmes said. “My message to you, and my message from the family, is to just simply just turn yourself in.”

No one was in custody Sunday afternoon in the fatal stabbing, and it was not clear whether police had recovered a weapon. But Area Five detectives were working on leads late Sunday.

The victim’s identity has not been learned.

Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at (312) 746-5446. Anonymous tips can be made at cpdtip.com.

 

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