Suspect in custody in connection with triple murder outside of nightclub in Portage Park
by BRIAN NADIG
A suspect was taken into custody Monday afternoon at a Jefferson Park apartment building in connection to what police described as a triple murder at point-black range near a Portage Park nightclub over the weekend.
The man was arrested at about 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12, near Montrose and Laramie, according to Chicago police. No charges have been filed as of late Monday afternoon, but Area Five detectives are continuing their investigation, according to police.
Two men and a woman were fatally shot in the 5500 block of West School Street at about 2:25 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, and another woman remains hospitalized in critical condition after she was also shot, police said.
The shooting was caught on a home surveillance camera, reportedly showing the suspect walking up to the victims and shooting them in the head or in the chest at close range. “Cold-blooded, execution-style,” a police source said.
The incident reportedly stems from an earlier altercation at the nearby Vera Lounge, 3235 N. Central Ave. A crowd gathered near Central and School when responding officers arrived, police said.
The shooter fled in a dark-colored sport utility vehicle, which reportedly had a blown out rear hatch, police said. It’s not clear if the damage to the vehicle was from retaliatory gunfire during the incident on School, police said.
The SUV reportedly was later recovered, according to police.
The deceased were identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office as Ricky Vera, age 50, of unknown address, Mario Pozuelos, age 26, of the 3300 block of Elder Lane, Franklin Park, and Mercedes Tavares, age 24, of the 100 block of Kingston Place, Chicago Heights.
Mr. Vera was an air-conditioning and heating contractor, and, according to published reports, was a relative of the owners of Vera Lounge.
“He’s the nicest guy. He would do anything to help anybody,” an area resident said. His daughter reportedly was the fourth person shot and remains hospitalized following surgery.
The shootings occurred in the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District, which has had five homicides in 2022.
The 16th District had a 42 percent increase in serious crime this year through Dec. 4, with 2,097 reported incidents compared to 1,472 during the same period last year.
The increase is due largely to more property crimes, especially car thefts and catalytic converter thefts. The total number of shootings in the district is similar to last year, with at least 22 reported shot in 2022.
Personnel shortages reportedly have made it difficult on some shifts to have patrol cars on all beats in the district, and some cars reportedly have one officer instead of the preferred two officers.