Convenience store owner exchanges gunfire with burglary suspects on South Side

Thursday, January 4, 2024
CHICAGO (WLS) -- A store owner confronted suspected burglars in Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood Thursday morning.

Chicago police said three male suspects shattered the front door window of a business at on 460 East 61st Street at about 4:35 a.m.

The made entry into V's Convenience Store and began taking merchandise when police said the 40-year-old store owner, Vanessa Harris, arrived.

The owner said one of the suspects took out a gun and fired shots at her and the owner fired back, police said. It does not appear any of the suspects were wounded and the store owner was not injured.

"I was kinda nervous, thinking like, 'are they going to shoot again?'" Harris said. "But then I realized he did it as a scare shot, and they ran off at the store. I just fired back and two more ran out on foot."

Harris said she has a concealed carry license, and police took her gun as protocol while they investigate.

SEE ALSO: South Side restaurant targeted in burglary, Chicago police say

Harris believes she may have injured one of the robbers as they got away in a white sedan. The vehicle fled southbound, police said.

"I'm pretty for sure I did," Harris said. "If they didn't, they was lucky. I gotta do what I gotta do. I mean, unfortunately this ain't what I want to do. I don't want no death on my conscience, but they're getting ridiculous."

The store owner said she is angry and frustrated. This is the second burglary to their store in four days. The first time was on New Year's Eve overnight.

Harris shared surveillance video from that incident showing several people going through her cash registers.

"I'm losing so much being on this corner," Harris said. "I'm closing up. I got some of my customers complaining now about me closing at 5:30, 6 o'clock, but it's only due to my safety."

She has been in business there in the Woodlawn neighborhood for three years, selling food and coffee, but she said this incident was traumatizing.

"It's not easy running a business, you know, so I'm really frustrated, and I'm hoping that the police get involved," Harris said. "I really feel hurt and violated."

Harris said she is trying to contact other business owners in the area to see if they can get security after hours.

Area One detectives are investigating and no one is in custody.

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