The dispute started in the Menards parking and carried over to the Patio, police say. A diner tells what it was like inside the restaurant.
May 22, 2023 1:43 am CDT | Updated May 22, 2023 11:39 am CDT
BRIDGEVIEW, IL — Two men were shot Sunday evening in a dispute reportedly over a gold chain that began in the Menard’s parking lot before one of the injured men ran to The Patio Restaurant in Bridgeview. A stray bullet also struck the restaurant’s window, causing diners to hit the floor or flee the restaurant, believing it was an active shooter situation. An elderly diner injured himself trying to get down on the floor.
Chief Ricardo Mancha, of the Bridgeview Police Department, told Patch an argument that erupted in gunfire started in the Menards parking lot, 9140 S. Harlem Ave., and carried over to the Patio at 91st Street and Harlem Avenue.
Just before 7 p.m., police said a group of approximately six to eight people squared off in the Menard’s parking lot, reportedly arguing over a gold chain. When a bystander tried to restore peace between the two sides, someone in the group pulled out a gun and shot the bystander in the calf.
“They knew each other from a prior incident,” police spokesman Ray Hanania told Patch. “One guy went to meet the group to get his gold chain back. He had his two friends sitting in the car a half block away just in case it went south, which it did.”
As the others ran east toward the restaurant, the shooters continued firing at them, police said. A bullet pierced the restaurant’s window. Some vehicles in the parking lot were also hit by gunfire, according to the preliminary investigation.
Hanania said two people were shot and an elderly diner inside the restaurant was injured when he tried to get down on the floor.
Diners were out enjoying a Sunday evening meal and celebrating graduations when a bullet came flying through a window of the restaurant.
Pablo Cruz and his girlfriend had just finished eating when he heard what sounded like a chair falling.
“We had our food and were getting ready to leave when I heard a funny sound like a chair falling,” Cruz told Patch. “I didn’t hear a gunshot. Everybody hit the floor. I made my girlfriend hit the floor and I covered her. A man did the same thing with his 7-year-old daughter.”
Two older men from Brighton Park were sitting closest to the window and had been hit by glass shards. They were both lying still on the floor, but they were just stunned.
“I thought they were dead,” Cruz said.
Cruz said the bullet appeared to have pierced the window high up on the fourth panel.
“The only thing that scared me, I thought maybe the bullet ricocheted from inside the restaurant,” he said. “The bullet hole was quite large.”
As many as 40 people immediately evacuated the restaurant and ran outside, thinking it was an active shooting situation. Once Cruz ascertained that there was no more shooting, he and his girlfriend called police.
“There were screams like I never heard before. Small children were screaming,” Cruz said. “My girlfriend comforted a woman, who kept screaming that she couldn’t take it anymore.”
There was a blood trail leading to the bathroom inside the restaurant, which was closed off by crime tape. Cruz said he didn’t know if it came from the person who had reportedly been shot.
“The Bridgeview police came fast,” he said. “They couldn’t have been more professional. The Patio staff was wonderful. It’s heartbreaking.”
The 40-year-old man shot in the calf was taken in good condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
A 32-year-old man shot in the finger self-transported to Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital. He, too, is in good condition.
Anyone who witnessed the shooting or shooters in the Menard’s parking lot or was at the restaurant is asked to call the Bridgeview Police Department at 708-458-2131.