Butcher Killed by Bullet Through Window

By Alex Perez and BJ Lutz
|  Thursday, Aug 11, 2011  |  Updated 6:10 PM CDT
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Alfredo Cuellar, 41, had worked as a butcher and cashier at Margarita’s Meat Market for five or six years, said store owner Fernando Chavez.

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A butcher was killed Thursday morning by a bullet that came through the front window of a Southeast Side meat market and struck him in the chest.

Alfredo Cuellar, 41, had worked as a butcher and cashier at Margarita’s Meat Market for five or six years, said the store's owner Fernando Chavez.

Chavez is Cuellar's uncle and said his nephew did nothing but work hard and try to support his young son and extended family in Mexico.

"No drink and no smoke. Only eat and work," said Chavez. "I don't know why [this happened]. I thought it was a nice day."

Cuellar was working at the store, located near 79th Street and Marquette Avenue, when a bullet came through a wall at about 10:30 a.m., said police spokesman Laura Kubiak, citing preliminary information.

A few minutes prior to the shooting, surveillance video from inside the store recorded two black males, presumably the shooter's targets, flashing gang signs through the window and hiding from a white car that would eventually open fire.

The video doesn't show Cuella getting struck by a bullet, but a co-worker can be seen walking up to him. She appears to burst into tears.

Cuellar was was initially taken in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said fire department spokesman Will Knight. Kubiak said the incident was officially labeled a homicide investigation about 90 minutes later.

Chavez said he was not working at the time of the shooting, but got a call about the shooting. He arrived to find a bullet hole through the front window of the shop, which was covered by grating, just to the left of the front door.

There were no customers in the store at the time, said Chavez.

Chavez, who has owned the store for about 15 years, said violence is prevalent in the neighborhood.

"You here shots being fired all the time," he said.

Calumet Area detectives are investigating. No arrests have been made.

Surveillance video from inside the store shows two black men, presumably the gunman's targets, taking cover inside the store. Cuella is out of frame of the video, but a co-worker can be seen walking up to him. She appears to burst into tears.

 

A few minutes prior to the shooting, surveillance video from inside the store recorded two black males, presumably the shooter's targets, flashing gang signs through the window and hiding from a white car that would eventually open fire.

 

The shot is believed to have been fired from the light-colored vehicle in this surveillance photo.

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