Portage Park

CPD Search For Suspect After 3 Fatally Shot Outside Bar in Portage Park

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A small memorial is growing in Chicago's Portage Park neighborhood and police are searching for a suspect after three people were shot and killed early Sunday outside a neighborhood bar following an argument.

According to officials, the incident took place at approximately 2:26 a.m. Sunday, outside the bar Vera Lounge, located at 3235 N Central Ave.

Police say a male gunman opened fire at the scene following a verbal altercation that began inside the bar, striking at least four people. Witnesses told NBC 5 off-camera that bargoers frantically ran to their cars before the gunshots erupted.

According to the Cook County Medical Examiner, the victims have been identified as 24-year-old Mercedes Tavares, 26-year-old Mario Pozuelos and 50-year-old Ricky Vera, whom NBC 5 has learned was the brother of the bar's owner.

A fourth victim, a 25-year-old woman, was shot in the head and was rushed to a nearby hospital. She was last listed in critical condition.

According to authorities, the suspect fled the scene in a dark-colored SUV.

The Chicago Police Department says crime statistics show that murder in the city is down 16 percent year-over-year, and down 28 percent in the district with the highest murder rate.

In the 16th district, where Sunday's shooting happened, officials say it is now exactly even.

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