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After Fatal Shooting, West Loop's Red Kiva Will Close For Now: City

By Stephanie Lulay | September 9, 2015 7:33pm | Updated on September 9, 2015 7:54pm
 Red Kiva, an embattled West Loop restaurant and nightclub on Randolph, will now close after fatal shooting occurred nearby early Sunday.
Red Kiva, an embattled West Loop restaurant and nightclub on Randolph, will now close after fatal shooting occurred nearby early Sunday.
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Red Kiva Facebook

WEST LOOP — Facing pressure after a recent shooting near the nightclub, Red Kiva on Randolph will close for now, city officials confirmed late Wednesday.

Owners of the embattled pizza restaurant and nightclub agreed to voluntarily close the business at this time, according to a statement from the city's Law Department. City officials did not confirm whether Red Kiva officials agreed to close for a certain number of days.

The city plans to keep the business closed until all issues are resolved, according to the statement.

Calls to the West Loop club were not returned Tuesday. Red Kiva is owned by Princess Lomax, president of Regent Entertainment Inc., according to state records. Because the club also faces licensing issues, it remains unclear whether it will be able to reopen.

Both the victims and their attackers were at Red Kiva, 1108 W. Randolph St., early Sunday before a fight later broke out on the street, according to Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th). The ensuing shooting on the sidewalk outside left one 23-year-old man dead and injured another.

Friends and family say the victim, Lavell Southern, 23, was a family man and actively involved in the church where his father, Maurice Southern, serves as pastor. A football star at Mount Carmel High School for four years and later a defensive back at Carthage College in Wisconsin, family said he was at home recovering from an injury on the field, but planned to return to college.

On Tuesday, Burnett said cops would push Red Kiva to voluntarily close. At the time, Burnett said police leaders did not think the shooting near Red Kiva met the burden required by a new city ordinance Mayor Rahm Emanuel enacted to close problem bars, but said that police are meeting with Red Kiva owners to pressure the bar to voluntarily close for 60-90 days, Burnett said.

Stephanie Lulay discusses the shooting and bar closure:

The shooting on Randolph comes five months after a shooting at Sawtooth, located a few blocks from Red Kiva, forced the restaurant and nightclub to close.

City wants to revoke liquor license

In May, the city's department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection initiated a case to revoke Red Kiva's liquor license because the new owners failed to report the change of ownership as required by the city's licensing rules. That case is still pending, and Red Kiva's next hearing date is Sept. 21.

New owners were attempting to get the liquor license transferred from old ownership, Burnett said, but they had an uphill battle. The West Loop Community Organization, a city delegate agency, did not support the license transfer and Burnett was unsure if owners were able to garner support from other area groups. 

While Lomax currently owns the business, Red Kiva's liquor license is currently held by Elrick Williams, a former owner, according to city officials.

The city may be considering subterfuge charges against the club, Burnett said.

Alleged shooter charged

Around 2:30 a.m. Southern and another man, both 23, were standing on the sidewalk near 1142 W. Randolph Street when a black van pulled up and someone inside fired shots, according to Chicago Police.

Both men were brought to Stroger Hospital, where Southern was pronounced dead with a gunshot wound in the back of his head and back. The other young man was treated and released.

Andre Harris, 31, of the 7100 block of South Morgan Street in Englewood, was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a gun.

Cook County Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. ordered Harris held without bail Tuesday.

The two victims left the club with friends at about 2 a.m. early Sunday, according to Assistant State's Attorney Kim Przekota.

About a half block west of the club, the pair ran into Harris, whom they knew, and several other men. Harris became aggressive with the unknown victim, before pulling out a gun and pointing it at the victim, according to Przekota. According to several witnesses, Harris chased the man, while the man raised his hands in an attempt to stop the altercation.

Southern tried to intervene, Przekota said, and one of the men with Harris pulled out a gun and hit Southern in the head with it.

That man, who has not yet been charged, said "blow, Dre," which several witnesses understood to mean "shoot," according to Przekota.

The victims, who were unarmed, started running west on Randolph toward Racine as Harris and his accomplice opened fire, prosecutors said.

Multiple witnesses identified Harris as one of the shooters, and he was arrested at his Englewood home about 1:15 p.m. Sunday, court records show.

In April, two men died and another man was wounded in shootings after a fight in Dolphin nightclub in Bucktown spilled into the street. The violent episode prompted the city to bring a new case to court in an attempt to close the club.

Two high-profile shootings near Funky Buddha Lounge in November 2014 prompted neighbors to call for the longtime River West bar to close. In February, Burnett confirmed the bar had closed for good.

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