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By Charlie De Mar
/ CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago police announced charges in a mass shooting that left three people dead and a fourth critically wounded on the Northwest Side over the weekend.
The shooting happened around 2:26 a.m. Sunday at the Vera Lounge, at 3235 N. Central Ave. off School Street in Portage Park. Police said an argument inside the bar turned into a fight that spilled outside in the street, and that was when a man fired shots and fled in a dark-colored sport-utility vehicle.
CPD Supt. David Brown said Samuel Parsons-Salas, 32, of Chicago, was arrested on Monday and charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and a count of kidnapping.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, chilling new surveillance video obtained by CBS Chicago from early Sunday morning shows the quarrel that spilled outside of the Vera Lounge.
For television, we stopped the video before the three victims were shot and killed at close range. Three died, and the gunman then went back to shoot them again.
Ricky Vera, 50, whose brother owns the bar, was shot in the head and chest and was pronounced dead on the scene. Mariah Vera, 25, his daughter, was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the head, and was listed in critical condition.
Two of Maria’s friends, Mario Pozuelos, 26, of Franklin Park, and Mercedes Tavares, 24, of Chicago Heights, were taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds to the body. Both were pronounced dead.
A family friend said the group was celebrating Maria’s birthday on Saturday night.
Brown said Parsons-Salas had been attending the party inside and was asked to leave. He added Parsons-Salas was captured on surveillance video retrieving a gun from a car while outside before the shooting.
The fight broke out and Parsons-Salas shot the victims before fleeing in another car, Brown said.
“This incident is a tragedy,” Brown said. “It should never escalate to a loss of life.”
Brown declined to go into detail about the manner of the killings, but only described them as “heartless.” As for the exact reason for the violence, Brown said “The rest is unexplainable.”
“Throw away the key,” said Supt. Brown. “Get this person off our streets. Don’t release them on electronic monitoring.”
As to the kidnapping charge, CPD Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan explained that after the shootings, Parsons-Salas had fled with another individual in the car. Deenihan said that individual is the victim of the kidnapping as Salas “held her against her will.”
Parsons-Salas was released on parole in September of this year, stemming from a September 2009 armed home invasion that left two people dead in the Albany Park neighborhood.
He was charged in that crime in 2014.
The next year, Parsons-Salas was charged with assaulting a jail guard.
Court records show Parsons-Salas pleaded guilty in 2018 to two charges after a plea deal related to the 2009 incident. He was sentenced to eight years in prison, but got credit for four years and eight months already served.
“It makes it a little bit easier on the family that this induvial was caught,” said Ricardo Douglas – a cousin of Pozuelos, who was killed in the shooting.
Douglas returned to the scene Tuesday, which is just steps from the bar. He left flowers and a prayer for his 26-year-old cousin, and to honor the lives of Tavares — a mother to three kids — and Ricky and Mariah Vera.
“Nobody deserves this. No matter what the situation is, there’s always a way to hash things out,” Douglas said. “It’s family. At the end of the day, it’s tragedy – my heart. I lost a family member, so I just came here to show my support for him.”
A GoFundMe has been set up for funeral and medical expenses for the Vera family.
A GoFundMe has also been set up for the family of Imari, the mother of three babies.
Parsons-Salas is expected in bond court on Wednesday.
Charlie De Mar is an Emmy Award-winning reporter for CBS2.
First published on December 13, 2022 / 6:37 PM
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©2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Chicago police announce charges in Portage Park mass shooting – CBS News
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