Chicago police superintendent orders Vera Lounge in Portage Park closed following last weekend’s mass shooting; citation previously issued for no public place of amusement license at establishment
by BRIAN NADIG
By the order of Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, the Vera Lounge at 3235 N. Central Ave. has been closed following last weekend’s deadly shootings that occurred near the Portage Park bar.
This type of closure is not unusual anytime a violent crime is linked to an establishment, and the closing may only be temporary, allowing for a “cooling off period” as the incident is being further investigated, said 16th (Jefferson Park) District commander Heather Daniel.
The establishment can appeal the closure, and sometimes businesses which are closed will work with city agencies on an abatement plan to help prevent further problems.
In addition, the city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has issued the following statement:
“Since 2022, (BACP) has received two complaints regarding the establishment. Since Aug. 7, BACP has issued one Notice to Correct and three Administrative Notices of Violations/Citations to the establishment for Operating without a Public Place of Amusement license, failure to display the license and failure to produce a current liquor liability insurance certificate.”
PPA licenses are intended for businesses that offer entertainment. Vera’s Lounge hosts a variety of DJ shows and other events, according to its Facebook page.
Vera Lounge has a retail food establishment license and a consumption on premises with an incidental liquor license, the department said.
Early Sunday two men and a woman were fatally shot near the lounge by a man who reportedly had been asked to leave the establishment, which was hosting a birthday party for a woman, who was critically wounded during the gunfire, according to Chicago police. Her 50-year-old father was one of the three individuals fatally shot, police said.
Footage from a surveillance camera shows that some of the victims were shot an additional time at close range while they were on the ground injured from the first round of gunfire.
The suspect, who was arrested on Dec. 12 at a Jefferson Park apartment building, was identified by police as Samuel Parsons-Salas, age 32, of the 3900 block of North Linder Avenue, and he faces three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of kidnapping, according to police.
He was recently paroled from prison after serving several years in conjunction with a deadly home invasion in Albany Park.
Closure notices were posted at Vera Lounge on Wednesday, Dec. 14, and state the following:
“Superintendent of Police has determined that this establishment presents a public safety threat due to a violent offense occurring at this establishment during the establishment’s operating hours, involving the licensee/owner, or its employees, agents or patrons, or otherwise involving circumstances having a connection to the operation of this establishment.
“The Superintendent of Police has determined that continued operation of this establishment presents a danger to the public and has ordered its Summary Closure.
“The licensee/owner has the right to request in writing, within three business days after notice is posted, a probable cause hearing before the mayor to determine whether a public safety threat occurred. If requested in writing, a probable cause hearing shall be commenced within three business days of receipt of such request. A decision shall be announced no later than two business days after the hearing is completed.
“The licensee/owner has the right, at any time during the period of closure, to seek to resume business activities at the establishment, by requesting, in writing, a nuisance abatement hearing before the mayor to contest whether a public safety threat occurred or to rebut the Superintendent’s determination that continued operation of the establishment presents a danger to the public.
“If requested in writing, a nuisance abatement hearing shall be commenced by the mayor within five business days of receipt of such request. A decision shall be announced no later than three business days after the hearing is completed.”