City issues cease and desist orders to TJ’s Cafe, the reported unlicensed club in Jefferson Park where a fatal shooting occurred as people were leaving
by BRIAN NADIG
The city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has issued eight cease and desist orders against the now-closed TJ’s Café at 4804 N. Central Ave., where gunfire killed a woman and injured two others on Sunday, Dec. 5.
In addition, the city’s Strategic Inspection Task Force visited the property last week and issued nine building code citations, according to the city Department of Buildings.
Alderman James Gardiner (45th) said that he along with the property owner, police and officials from the buildings and licensing departments inspected the storefront on Tuesday, Dec. 7, and found unfinished drinks, couches and an arcade machine. He added that bullet holes could seen on the rear door, which reportedly was open at the time of the shootings.
Police have reported that no one was inside the business when officers made forced entry into the building shortly after the shootings and that five shell casings were found in a nearby alley, one inside the storefront and another inside a book bag belonging to one of those who were shot, police said.
Police also reported that a clear sandwich bag with 10 smaller knotted bags, each containing a rock-like substance suspected of being crack cocaine and a blue pill suspected of being ecstasy, was found in a garbage can near the building.
The unlicensed social club started leasing the storefront, where a computer business had been located, in October, according to the business affairs department. For weeks the storefront’s windows have been blocked so that passers-by cannot see inside.
“On Monday Dec. 6, cease and desist orders were issued via mail to an establishment operating as TJ’S Café for liquor-club, liquor-tavern, liquor-consumption on premises and retail food,” a business affairs spokesperson said. She added that the department has not received an application for club-related activities at that location and that the only active business license for that address is for tax preparation services.
In addition, according to Gardiner, the buildings department has issued an “off limits — do not enter” for the storefront.
At a Dec. 10 community meeting hosted by Gardiner, police asked residents to call 911 if they see anyone inside the storefront.
The building citations allege failure to obtain consent from adjoining property owner for installation of of a tank for the storage of flammable liquids, failure to maintain exterior door in sound condition, failure to maintain floor free from holes and wide cracks, and not keeping premises clean, sanitary and safe, according to the buildings department. There also was an exposed wiring citation.
Also in Jefferson Park, about two hours prior to the fatal shooting dozens of gunshots were fired in the 5900 block of West Lawrence Avenue, where a storefront and a parked vehicle were damaged, police said. Forty-three spent shell casings were found in the area.