Man shot to death in hotel lobby near McCormick Place

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A man was fatally shot in the lobby of a hotel near McCormick Place early Saturday, according to Chicago Police.

About 2:20 a.m., 25-year-old Courtney Taylor was among several people fighting in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place at 2233 S. King Drive, police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. During the fight, someone pulled out a gun and shot him in the head.

Taylor, of the 6800 block of South Paulina Avenue, was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. An autopsy Saturday found that he died of multiple gunshot wounds and his death was ruled a homicide.

The fight and subsequent shooting occurred in the hotel’s South Tower, which was completely cordoned off with police tape. The floor was littered with broken glass and several planters were tipped over. Some pieces of lobby furniture were turned on their sides.

About a dozen police vehicles crowded the valet area outside the hotel’s entrance and, on several occasions, officers referred hotel guests, some concerned and confused by the abundance of crime scene tape, to the front desk in order to get to their rooms.

Taylor’s body — which was plainly visible through a large window on the building’s south side — remained uncovered for about an hour after the shooting. Around the time the body was covered with a sheet, a woman who said she was his mother arrived at the hotel and pleaded with police to let her see the body.

After detectives told her she couldn’t look at the body up close until the crime scene had been processed, she went outside to the south window and saw Taylor’s corpse — still lying in the well-lit lobby with a thin trail of blood coming from his head — covered except for a portion of his face.

“That’s my son,” the woman screamed, hitting the window as she was surrounded by about 10 additional family members and friends.

“Look at my son lying on the ground like that,” she yelled through tears as she collapsed to the ground. “Get my baby off that ground.”

Eventually, officers cordoned off the area directly in front of the window, but the group — which grew to nearly 20 people — remained.

Travis Cain, who was visiting Chicago from Memphis to celebrate his 36th birthday on Sunday, was in the lobby when the fight broke out.

He said the fight involved more than a dozen people and after a hotel security officer yelled that someone had a gun, he was pushed into a corner of the lobby before he heard shots ring out.

“I’ve learned not to pass judgment on places, Memphis isn’t the best city either,” Cain said while smoking a cigarette outside the lobby. “We could all do better.”

Hyatt released a statement on Saturday, saying the shooting appeared to be an isolated incident.

“At Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, the safety and security of guests and associates is a top priority. This appears to be an isolated incident, however the hotel is taking all appropriate precautions in an effort to ensure that guests and hotel associates remain in a safe environment. We also went to extend our sympathies to the family of the deceased. The hotel is cooperating with the authorities on their investigation, and inquiries should be directed to the Chicago Police Department,” the statement said.

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