Sunday, March 19, 2006

NOH Historical Archives

24 Years Ago

Lerner Newspaper November 1982
Tavern shooting; Bar owner charged with murder
Staff Writer

THE OWNER of a Paulina Street tavern open while appealing a 1980 dry vote in the precinct has been charged with murder in connection with a shooting there early Sunday morning, Nov. 7. The shooting oc­curred four days after Appellate Court judges issued a ruling uphold­ing the election results.

Ald. David Orr (49th), who has been involved, along with North of Howard residents, in the campaign to close the Paulina Street taverns, expressed delight with the court's decision, but said, "If justice had been swifter, the incident at the bar could have been avoided. It's unfortunate the decision took this long."

Charged in the shooting is Hugo Lopez, 31, of 7610 N. Marshfield Ave., owner of Mi Lugar Tavern, 7642 N. Paulina St. Lopez is accused of shooting Arturo Mercado, 39, of 2040 W. Touhy Ave., with a rifle after he had been attacked by Mercado's Doberman pinscher, pol­ice said.

THE VICTIM, accompanied by the dog, walked into the tavern about 3 a.m. and began arguing with the owner, reports said, Lopez, after being attacked by the dog, took a rifle from his office, shot the victim in the chest, then told sever­al bystanders to drag the body into the street, police said.

A 24-year-old North of Howard man was injured during the inci­dent. He was listed in fair condition at St. Francis Hospital with gunshot wounds to the chest and stomach three days after the shooting. Pol­ice have not made any charges in connection with the second shoot­ing.

Rogers Park (24th) District pol­ice on patrol were alerted to the shooting when they heard gun­shots in the vicinity of the tavern. They found Mercado lying face up on the street in front of the tavern, but had to distract the Doberman before they, were able to examine the body, reports said.

When Lopez and other witnesses were questioned, they claimed the shooting happened on the sidewalk, not inside the tavern, and that a group of 10-15 men had been in­volved in the fight, police said. Lo­pez was arrested later that day when another witness told investi­gators a different version of the shooting, police said.

THE DRY VOTE in the 1st Pre­cinct of the 49th Ward passed 132-33 in the November, 1980 election. Community leaders had blamed the taverns for such problems on Pauli­na Street as violence, loitering and excessive litter—and still do. Three taverns, the Mi Lugar, the Gray Moon at 7605 Paulina and La Sota De Copas, 7644 Paulina, still remain open and will be affected by the Appellate Court ruling, which was made on Nov. 3.

Orr explained that the taverns have 21 days—until Nov. 24—to ap­ply for a re-hearing, and have a legal right to remain open until then. He said he expected such a petition, if it is made, to be denied. The taverns can also remain open by appealing the decision to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Police have said, however, that the Mi Lugar will be subject to a license investigation because of Sunday's shooting.

Area residents are still frustrated by the slow progress of the case, calling the appeals "stall tactics" on the part of the taverns. "In the meantime, we've got blood on the street," noted Mike Luckenbach, one of those who campaigned for the dry vote two years ago.

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