5 bystanders shot, 1 fatally, as gunmen target boy in South Side convenience store: police

An 18-year-old woman was killed and four others wounded Tuesday when several gunmen opened fire into an Avalon Park convenience store, striking the five bystanders while targeting a boy inside, Chicago police said.

Three of the attackers got out of a car about 5:20 p.m. at 79th Street and Avalon Avenue and walked up to the front entrance of the store, opening the door and firing several shots inside, police said.

Jaya Beemon, of nearby Park Manor, was shot in the neck. She was pronounced dead at the University of Chicago Medical Center, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Detectives believe the suspects were targeting a boy inside the store, according to Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

“It appears he was the target,” Guglielmi said. “They recklessly fired into the store and, tragically, an innocent woman was killed.”

Chicago police investigate the scene where multiple people were shot and one was killed in the 7900 block of South Avalon, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The boy had entered the store with two women who were wounded in the shooting, he said. Three others, including Beemon, were not part of his group.

The gunmen continued firing as they left the scene in a white vehicle, police said. Police are searching for the boy who had been targeted.

The wounded include:

  • An 18-year-old woman who was shot in the back. She was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center in critical condition;
  • A 63-year-old man was shot in the leg. His condition stabilized at the University of Chicago Medical Center
  • A 17-year-old girl, who was shot in the arm, chest and ankle, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in good condition; and
  • A 19-year-old man, shot in the leg, was also taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in good condition.