Alderman: 'Issues for years' with illegal activity at Uptown Starbucks

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SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A North Side alderman said he is taking “immediate action” after a drug deal led to the fatal shooting of one man, and the wounding of two people, including a 12-year-old, inside an Uptown Starbucks on Thursday night.

Drug dealing and other illegal activities are nothing new in and around the restaurant, despite past complaints and city enforcement action, according to Ald. James Cappleman.

“I am very disturbed to learn from police that drug dealing had been going on at Starbucks for more than a week,” Cappleman wrote in a Safety Update posted on his Facebook page Friday morning.

“I will not tolerate businesses that do not work with the police and my office to maintain safety. We have had issues for years with illegal activity at this business, with very little response or help from Starbucks’ management to correct the problems.”

The shooting happened about 8:10 p.m. when “outside the entrance to Starbucks on the corner of Broadway and Lawrence, a drug transaction led to the shooting of three young males, including a 12-year-old boy,” Cappleman said.

It started when “one of the individuals involved in the drug sale ran inside the Starbucks, followed by another person involved in the sale, who opened fired inside the Starbucks, shooting the individual he was chasing and two others,” Cappleman said.

Sauvignon Watkins, 28, of the Avalon Park neighborhood was killed, while a 12-year-old boy and a 24-year-old man were wounded, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. The boy was in good condition at a hospital, while the man was listed in serious condition.

The alderman said he will be “following up with the office of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection to correct the safety issues at Starbucks for the safety of residents in the ward.”

CPD will also be asked to increase police patrols in the area.

“My office has reported this Starbucks location to BACP in the past, and the agency has conducted investigations and temporarily closed the business for previous problems,” Cappleman said.

A Starbucks spokesperson issued the following statement:

"We were saddened to learn of the passing of a young man and the injury of two others as a result of gun violence at our store on North Broadway in Chicago this past Thursday.

We will reopen the store tomorrow (Saturday), and continue to provide support to our partners (employees) during this difficult time.

We are proud of our long history in Chicago and our efforts to make both economic and social impact in its communities, and we are grateful to local law enforcement for the partnership in their investigation of this terrible situation."