Wild Wicker Park Party Bust: Host Thankful, Blames Social Media, Cops Say
WICKER PARK — The host of a gathering that by his own admittance was "out of control" allegedly thanked authorities for shutting down a party early Sunday that had spilled out of his third-floor apartment and onto a rooftop.
According to police sources, at least 200 people were crammed into an 800 square-foot third-floor apartment on the 1500 block of North Damen Avenue in Wicker Park just before 2 a.m. Sunday.
Officers said a staircase provided "unencumbered access to the roof," which had no fence or wall on the north end protecting guests from "falling 40-feet to the alley below."
"A downward slope on the roof could have easily spelled disaster to any one of the party goers who got too close to the edge," a local police sergeant said.
William O' Connell, 43, of the 1500 block of N. Damen Ave. was cited for not having a Public Place of Amusement license, which is required for anyone charging entry to an event where there is a live performance, according to Police spokesman Jose Estrada.
According to Estrada, shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday., officers observed "a large crowd" in front of an apartment building, where the occupant of a third-floor apartment was charging for entry to a party with live DJ music.
Sources said a $7 door fee was collected to hear a DJ performing.
Police said it was their first time dealing with O'Connell, who "was sorry and seemed genuine... He thanked us for helping shut the party down and said it was 'out of control' with the amount of people there,'" the sergeant said.
Police said O'Connell blamed social media for the large crowd where "several of the people that he had invited posted the event."
Around 3 p.m. Sunday, remnants of the party were still evident in a trash-filled alley adjacent to where the gathering allegedly took place.
Carlos Santiago, 28, who was sitting in a doorway in front of the building next to the alley, told DNAinfo Chicago that he'd attended the party earlier that day.
Santiago, who described himself as homeless and originally from West Palm Beach, Florida, said the party had "beautiful, loud music."
"I haven't been to a party like that in a long time," Santiago said.
O'Connell — who is scheduled to appear at an administrative hearing at the Central Hearing Facility on July 9 — was unable to be reached for comment.