Caught on camera: Bucktown liquor store employee shot during robbery

ByChristian Piekos and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Friday, July 14, 2023
Employee shot during robbery at NW Side liquor store: VIDEO
A Bucktown robbery turned into a Chicago shooting on Thursday night. The violence at Bucktown Food and Liquor was caught on video.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An employee was shot inside a Northwest Side liquor store during a robbery Thursday night.

Chicago police said the shooting happened at the Bucktown Food and Liquor at 1950 North Milwaukee Avenue at about 10:27 p.m. Surveillance video inside the store captured the frightening moments when three men in ski masks stormed in, guns drawn, trying to rob the place.

"We've been peaceful for many many years. But suddenly, the incident took place yesterday," said Diptesh Patel, the store's owner.

The video shows customers putting their hands up and placing their wallets on the counter, as the suspects demand. ABC7 has blurred the victims' identities.

As a 26-year-old employee placed his wallet on the counter, a gunman fired at him, striking him in the abdomen.

"He was just pulling out his wallet, and they shot him," Patel said.

At least one other bullet flew through this plexiglass window. The suspects robbed five other people, but they were not injured, police said.

The injured employee was transported to Stroger Hospital in critical condition, police said.

"He's a really great guy. He's been working here for a year and a half, never any issues with any customers. Friendly guy," Patel said. "Shouldn't have never happened. We did whatever they asked for, we provided."

The suspects fled the scene in a dark sedan. The same suspects could also be behind a separate armed robbery at a 7-Eleven just over a half mile away on the 2000-block of North Damen Avenue that happened early Thursday morning.

Police said two armed suspects wanted money from the cash register when one of them elbowed the 54-year-old employee in the head before taking off, also in a dark sedan.

No one is in custody in either of the incidents, and police would not say if the two incidents are connected.

The brazen crime occurred just steps away from First Ward Alderman Daniel La Spata's office.

"I'm shocked and angered by the shooting that happened at Bucktown Food & Liquor. They have always been good neighbors to myself, our office, and our community. My thoughts and prayers are with the victim for a full recovery. We will work with the 14th District to our best ability to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice," he said in a statement.

The shooting also left a nearby business owner, who did not want to be identified, on edge.

"Unfortunately, as a Chicagoan born and raised, I've unfortunately learned through experience it really doesn't matter where you are in the city, these things just tend to happen," he said.

That business has only been open for a week when Thursday night's crime unfolded.

"Around like 9:15ish they heard a few gunshots and they locked the doors and they just saw commotion," he said. "Hearing that within the first week is really alarming, we just want to make sure that whatever happened last night, whoever is involved, they're safe."

Area Five detectives are investigating.

INTERACTIVE SAFETY TRACKER Track crime and safety in your neighborhood