Chicago shooting: Man charged with killing 3 after fight at Portage Park bar birthday party

The suspect, also charged with kidnapping, allegedly held a woman against her will after the deadly shooting.

ByLiz Nagy and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Man charged in shooting that killed 3 after Chicago bar fight
A man has been charged in a Chicago shooting that killed 3 people outside Vera's Lounge at West Melrose Street and North Central Avenue, police said.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A man is charged with killing three people outside a bar in an early Sunday morning shooting on the city's Northwest Side, Chicago police said.

Samuel Parsons-Salas, 32, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of armed kidnapping, police said on Tuesday afternoon. He allegedly drove away with a woman and held her against her will after the deadly shooting.

Parsons-Salas is already a convicted felon, released on parole in September after serving time for a 2009 home invasion in Albany Park in which two people were killed.

Police announced charges in a Chicago shooting that killed three people after a bar fight.

Parsons-Salas was initially charged with murder in that case, but pled guilty to two counts of home invasion.

The shooting happened at West Melrose Street and North Central Avenue at about 2:26 a.m., police said.

Police said Parsons-Salas was at Vera Lounge for Mariah Vera's birthday party when he was asked to leave. Police said he shot the four victims at point blank range.

"I don't want to go into too much detail on the horrific way these people were killed, but it was heartless," CPD Supt. David Brown said.

Ricky Vera and Mario Pozuelos, 50 and 26, were shot in the head and body and pronounced dead at the scene, police and the Cook County medical examiner's office said. Mercedes Tavares, 24, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and pronounced dead, police and the medical examiner's office said.

Mariah Vera, 25, remains in critical condition at Illinois Masonic Medical Center. She was celebrating her birthday on the night of the shooting.

"As long as she is alive and can hear everybody, that's a blessing right there," said Annette Vega, close friend of the victims.

Police said when they chased down Parsons-Salas at an apartment on West Montrose Monday afternoon, he was holding a woman who was with him at the time of the shooting against her will.

"Everyone involved, including the person the family is upset with, helped us bring charges," Brown said.

"Rick will give you the shirt off his back," said Oscar Ortiz, a Vera family friend. "Excellent husband, excellent grandfather, excellent father, excellent brother."

"It was definitely chaotic at first, a little bit shocked, confusion. We didn't really know what was going on," said Daniel Burgo, a witness.

Comedian Daniel "Joselito" Burgo performed at a show in Rosemont earlier that night, and was there at Vera's Lounge when gunfire rang out.

"They had just turned on the lights for last call, so as everybody was walking out, shots let off and everybody ran back in. The girl that got shot ran back in and everybody got kind of nervous because we weren't sure if the shooter was coming in as well. So people started ducking under tables,' Burgo said.

Surveillance video shows people sprinting down Central Avenue after shots were fired.

"I just feel bad for the families because this is an emotional thing. One second everybody was laughing taking pictures. Everyone is having a good time, and then in one split second everyone's screaming going crazy. It was just crazy," said Sonny Santiago, another witness.

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The Sun-Times Media report contributed to this post.