A 29-year-old Joliet man was shot in the chest and a sandwich shop’s window was damaged on West Jefferson Street late Saturday after bullets were fired from the Barcode 52 parking lot.
The man’s injuries were not life-threatening, but he did undergo surgery early Sunday morning, police said. A spokesman for the victim’s family said no one wanted to comment on their relative’s condition.
The man was shot after he honked his car horn at a group about to start fighting at the entrance to Barcode 52 at 1609 W. Jefferson St., police said. One of the members of the group yelled a gang name and opened fire, striking the victim and hitting a window at the Subway restaurant, which is across the street and about a block to the west at 1710 W. Jefferson St., police said.
“Thank God nobody got hurt,” said daytime Subway manager Sherika Washington.
The Subway is open until midnight on Saturday and police said the shooting took place around 11:40 p.m. Washington said she wasn’t on duty when the shooting occurred so she did not know if any customers were in the sandwich shop.
Police found three .380-caliber shell casings in the Barcode 52 parking lot. The victim fled the scene and drove himself to Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center. No arrests had been made as of Sunday morning. Police are searching for four male Hispanics.
Police Chief Michael Trafton said the shooting is believed to be gang-related. The victim told police he and his friends were leaving the bar when they noticed a disturbance and walked around it and went to their cars.
Trafton said the fact that a bullet traveled across heavily traveled Jefferson Street and hit the Subway window is troubling.
“They (gang members) just pull the trigger,” he said. “They have no idea where the bullet is going to go. ... It’s a scary situation when they’re doing this.”
The shooting comes less than a week after three murders in the city. Two teens were shot and killed Tuesday on the 700 block of Second Avenue. An 18-year-old was shot and killed Oct. 22 on the 1000 block of Lois Place. Police said Tuesday’s murders and Oct. 22 murder were unrelated.
Jim Murphy, the city’s deputy liquor commissioner, said Sunday that city officials were aware of the shooting.
“It’s going to be under investigation,” Murphy said.
Trafton said his department also would review the bar’s role, if any, in the incident.
“We’ve got to hold these property owners accountable,” Trafton said. “If that means hiring off-duty police officers, that’s what they need to do.”