JEFFERSON PARK — A man is accused of trying to kill a liquor store clerk with a claw hammer.
Aaron Federman, 29, of the 5000 block of West Strong Street, was ordered held on $700,000 bail Thursday on charges of attempted murder and robbery after bludgeoning an employee at Lis Food and Liquor Story at 5316 W. Lawrence St. on Monday, prosecutors said.
The clerk was working the register at the store when Federman came in with a jacket draped over his right arm, another employee said Thursday. He said he did not want to be identified because he feared retaliation.
Federman put a pack of gum on the counter and gave the clerk some money, the employee said. When the clerk opened the register, Federman pulled out the hammer and hit him over the head with it, the employee said.
The clerk collapsed immediately, the employee said.
"He is a very honest man," the employee said of his co-worker, who has worked at the store about 1-1/2 years. "He is well-liked and has a good personality."
The attack left the man in critical condition, authorities said. No one answered the door at his Jefferson Park home, which is within walking distance of the store, 5316 W. Lawrence Ave.
In the three years since the store opened, it has been robbed numerous times, the employee said. One of the store's front windows is boarded up, the remnant of another robbery, the employee said.
Two adjacent storefronts near Lawrence and Milwaukee avenues are vacant. It is across Lipps Avenue from the Copernicus Center, which often hosts concerts, cultural events and events for seniors.
"I'm glad they caught the guy who did it," the employee said. "But it wasn't the first time, and it won't be the last."