Gunfire from Loop robbery during drug deal hits 2 'unintended targets' near Theater District

Two men were shot and wounded by stray bullets in Chicago's Loop Sunday afternoon near the famous Chicago Theatre.

The victims, 27 and 55 — described by Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan as "unintended targets" — were shot in an alley on the block.

Both victims were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in fair condition, police said. Neither saw the shooter, who later ditched his jacket near the State/Lake Red Line stop, according to a police report.

The shooting apparently stemmed from a drug deal between two groups of people at a nearby Taco Bell, police said. An argument broke out and someone "implied a weapon" and robbed the others.

Both groups then ran south before the shooter opened fire, according to police, who said he may have been part of the group that was robbed.

Officers responded to a call of shots around 5 p.m. and found a shooting scene that extended into the alley in the first block of Benton Place, according to police reports.

Two stagehands who said they worked at the Nederlander told police they were walking east on Benton as two people were being chased the other way through the alley. One of the stagehands reported seeing someone fire at the two several times while running after them.

The other stagehand, a 55-year-old man from Elmhurst, was struck in the right ear, according to the reports. He told officers he was had just left the Chicago Theatre when he saw "a group of kids running" and he was shot.

A bartender from the Chicago Theatre told officers that he saw three males running through the alley when he heard a pair of "pops" and hid between trash cans, according to the reports. He then saw someone fire a handgun twice.

The second gunshot victim, a 27-year-old man from Gold Coast, was found with a wound to the hand, the reports state. He told officers he was walking with his girlfriend when he was struck.

No arrests were reported. Deenihan told reporters during a news conference that police were reviewing video on where "both groups went."

The crime scene was located just a couple hundred feet from the Chicago Theatre, where people were arriving for the "Letterkenny Live" comedy show. The show, which is not affiliated with Broadway in Chicago, went on as scheduled Sunday night.


A production of "Moulin Rouge! The Musical" was abruptly canceled Sunday night with little explanation to ticket holders or the public.

A statement from the show’s producers, Broadway in Chicago (BIC), said the cancellation was "due to an earlier disturbance in the Loop on Sunday afternoon. … No other Broadway In Chicago productions were affected." When reached via email, a spokesperson for BIC stated "There was absolutely no incident at the [Nederlander Theatre]," and that there would be no further comment due to the ongoing investigation.

Refunds and exchanges were offered to those who were at "Moulin Rouge! The Musical" on Sunday. The musical will resume Tuesday.

Chicagoans and tourists said Monday they are concerned but do not feel unsafe walking around the Loop.

Chicago police released the following statement after Sunday's shooting: "In light of the shooting that took place in the Theater District, additional resources will be deployed to supplement the 1st District’s regularly assigned patrols. We will continue to monitor the area and work closely with the Cook County Sheriff’s Police to enhance safety in our Theater District."

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.