Sauvignon Watkins killed, 12-year-old boy and man injured when gunman opens fire in Uptown Starbucks

Chicago Sun-Times

Police investigate a shooting that killed a man and wounded two other people, including a 12-year-old boy, Thursday night at a Starbucks in the Uptown neighborhood. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

Police investigate a shooting that killed a man and wounded two other people, including a 12-year-old boy, Thursday night at a Starbucks in the Uptown neighborhood. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

Sauvignon Watkins was killed in a shooting at a Starbucks in Uptown that also left two other people injured, including a 12-year-old boy, a crime that may have been caused by a drug deal gone wrong, according to police.

Watkins, a 28-year-old father of two from the Avalon Park neighborhood, was fatally shot Thursday evening in the Starbucks at 4753 N. Broadway, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The incident started with a drug deal near Broadway and Wilson, according to Town Hall District Cmdr. Marc Buslik. Police said Watkins and a 24-year-old man who was also wounded were involved in the transaction.

The 12-year-old and 24-year-old were inside the Starbucks when the shooting began, Buslik said. Police said the boy was “not connected to the incident.”

Just after 8 p.m., a person wearing a ski mask chased Watkins into the coffee shop and opened fired, according to police and the medical examiner’s office.

Sauvignon Redd Watkins | Facebook

Sauvignon Redd Watkins | Facebook

Watkins was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said, though it was unclear where on the body he was shot.

The boy suffered a gunshot wound to the groin and was treated at Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he was in good condition, police said. The 24-year-old was shot in the abdomen and was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center in serious condition.

Police said a weapon and narcotics were found on Watkins.

“As far as we can tell, this was not a random act,” Buslik said.

Kendra Nance, 26, who lives in the neighborhood, was walking at Broadway and Lawrence when she heard four shots. She walked to the Starbucks and saw people running and a man lying inside.

“There was a lot of blood,” Nance said.

The Starbucks, inside the historic Bridgeview Bank building, was closed Friday, according to a statement on its website.

“We were saddened to learn of the passing of a young man and the injury of two others as a result of gun violence at our store,” the statement said.

“The store will be closed tomorrow morning (Friday) as we focus on our local store partners, ensuring they have the support they need. We will continue to support law enforcement in their investigation,” the statement said.

A GoFundMe page set up to help with funeral expenses for Watkins had raised more than $3,100 towards a $6,000 goal as of Tuesday morning.

On his Facebook page, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) wrote: “Prayers of peace & comfort for those injured tonight, and to the family of the young man who was killed. Such senseless violence tonight.”

Cappleman also blasted the Starbucks as being complicit in drug dealing.

“I will not tolerate businesses that do not work with the police and my office to maintain safety,” Cappleman said in a statement. “We have had issues for years with illegal activity at this business, with very little response or help from Starbucks’ management to correct the problems.”

A spokesman for Starbucks said Friday that the coffee shop chain was “disappointed by the alderman’s comments,” which do not align with the CPD’s version of events.

“As it has been reported by local law enforcement, our store was not central to the crime that took place,” Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges said. “For him to suggest that that was the case, it was not accurate based on what we’ve seen from local law enforcement.”

Borges said the Uptown store has added additional exterior security cameras in recent years and has requested an additional lock be placed on the rear entrance to the Bridgeview Bank Building, though he could not speak to any enhanced security requests made by Cappleman.

Cappleman said that, since 2013, he has hosted regular meetings with a group of local businesses to discuss ways to improve public safety in Uptown.

“Starbucks has rarely come to those meetings,” Cappleman said.

The alderman said that, as police have targeted drug activity at the intersection of Lawrence and Sheridan, “We noticed that the drug dealers went to the path of least resistance” and “started drifting over to Starbucks.”

“That’s the issue: When you address gang and drug activity, when you get them out of one area, they go someplace else.”

Violence and drug activity within the immediate area of the Starbucks — Beat 1914, which covers the area from Lawrence to Montrose, Clark to Lake Michigan — has been relatively common for years.

No one was in custody as of Tuesday afternoon as Area North Detectives investigate. The alderman said camera footage of the incident is being checked.

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