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UPDATED: Shooters in passing vehicle open fire on patrons exiting Kankakee bar

KANKAKEE — At 12:11 a.m. Saturday morning, patrons were exiting the International Lounge in Kankakee when multiple shooters in a vehicle driving by the bar opened fire, according to Kankakee police.

Officers at the scene believe that more than 50 rounds were fired from several different weapons. Investigators have recovered one weapon at the scene.

Four people were injured in the shooting at the bar located at 698 N. Schuyler Ave., Kankakee Mayor Chris Curtis said.

Three of the four suffered gunshot wounds, the mayor said, adding that two of the victims were airlifted to advanced trauma care hospitals. Police have not released the identity of the victims but said that at least two of them are from Kankakee.

The bar had closed early for the night when the shooting occurred.

When police arrived on scene, they found a female gunshot victim and were advised that two additional gunshot victims had transported themselves to Kankakee hospitals.

Mayor Curtis said that witnesses at the scene are being uncooperative with police.

“Someone had to see the color of the car, or the make of the car; and what direction it was heading,” Curtis said.

Kankakee Police Chief Robin Passwater added, “They keep telling us they are afraid of retaliation, and that excuse is getting old. They know what is going on. It has become acceptable not to talk to us and then blame us when we can’t solve the crime.”

Second shooting

At 1:03 a.m. Saturday, Kankakee police also responded to a shooting at Jensen’s Tavern, 2228 W. Station St., Kankakee.

A 25-year-old male from Manteno told officers he was shot while in his vehicle in the parking lot of the tavern.

Police said the victim initially believed he had been struck by a bullet, however, medical staff at Riverside Medical Center advised that his injuries were from the shattered car window.

According to police, the victim was uncooperative and refused to provide information about the suspect.

Investigators do know that the shooter and the victim have had prior conflicts. Investigators are working the case and are attempting to locate other witnesses.

Kankakee Mayor Chris Curtis and volunteer Hannah Brack, a 15-year-old Kankakee High School student, bring a frozen turkey and sides to a city resident’s car Saturday morning during Curtis’ inaugural Turkey Dinner Giveaway.

Kankakee Mayor Chris Curtis and 3rd Ward Alderman Larry Osenga help distribute food on Saturday morning. This weekend saw three food giveaway events in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday. The Village of Bradley’s Feeding Mission and Still I Rise both distributed food.

Dollar Tree taking over former Dollar General location

Until a few months ago, Dollar General had operated a store at 545 S. Washington Ave. in Kankakee for many years.

But residents in need of toothpaste, playing cards, candy, tissues and a wide variety of other products need not worry as a different, but very similar, retailer will be opening at the location in the spring 2022.

Dollar Tree has taken over the location and is in the early stages of a $1.5 million renovation of the 16,000-square-foot store and its parking lot.

The retailer is planning for an April opening. The store is anticipated to employ two full-time workers as well as a part-time staff of eight.

The owner of the property since 2016 is AMRE Properties LLC. The company partners are brothers Samuel and Alexander Tadros, of Frankfort, and are leading the development, noted Kankakee officials.

This Dollar Tree would be at least the third in Kankakee County. There is a Dollar Tree along RiverStone Parkway in south Kankakee and also a location in the Bradley Village Square shopping center along North Street.

Even with the recent closure of the South Washington Avenue Dollar General, three stores remain in Kankakee, with locations at 865 W. Jeffery St., 1700 E. Court St., and 1895 W. Station St.

There are also numerous Dollar General locations throughout the county. There is a Dollar General in nearly every Kankakee County community.


Speaking of neighborhood stores, CVS Health, the owner of the CVS Pharmacy locations, of which there is one at 225 W. Court St. in Kankakee, has announced it plans to close 900 of its approximate 10,000 stores during the next three years, beginning in the spring of 2022.

The company is planning to close 300 stores in 2022, 300 in 2023 and 300 more in 2024. The locations for the closures have yet to be announced.

The reason for the closures, the company noted, are shifting shopping habits. Shoppers continue to purchase more products online.

The company said it will focus more of its efforts on digital growth and turning its stores into destinations that offer a range of health-care services, from flu shots to diagnostic tests.

Like many other retailers, CVS discovered during the pandemic that customers have accelerated their online shopping behaviors, meaning they have growing comfort levels shopping online.

Here’s hoping the Kankakee store is not part of the company’s 9 percent purge of locations.

The Daily Journal’s Lee Provost writes about local business rumors, comings and goings and other notes of interest. Anyone with information to share should contact Provost at lprovost@daily-journal.com or 815-937-3364.

Beckman Harbor damage was due to soil erosion

The Kankakee Valley Park District will have to find a way to pay for repairs to Beckman Harbor after learning its insurance provider will not cover the damage that occurred after a heavy rainfall in October.

KVPD Executive Director Dayna Heitz reported at the board of commissioners meeting on Nov. 8 that representatives from the Park District Risk Management Agency visited the harbor to assess the damage. The park district’s property is insured through PDRMA.

After that inspection, PDRMA determined that the damage was caused by long-term soil erosion, Heitz reported. As a result, the damage will not be covered by the park district’s policy through PDRMA.

“The park district continues to assess the damage to the harbor and the options for rebuilding it,” said Heitz in an email this past week. “We have already consulted with several engineers as part of this process and plan to consult with more.”

It’s unknown at this time how much it will cost to repair the damage. The dock on the north wall of Beckman Harbor collapsed into the water after heavy rains on Oct. 2 inundated Kankakee. All boats have since been removed from the harbor, and all of the docks were also removed.

The harbor has 72 boat slips, and slips 1 to 22 were directly affected by the collapse.

The actual age of Beckham Harbor is unknown. It was thought to have been constructed in the 1950s, but former Kankakee Mayor Russell Johnson contacted the Daily Journal and said the harbor was there in 1950 when his family moved to Kankakee from Chicago when he was 6 years old.


The park district’s attorneys are also still communicating with attorneys from Rink Management Services Corp., a management company based in Mechanicsville, Va., over settlement of its contract with the district. RMSC had been operating Splash Valley Aquatic Park and Ice Valley Centre Ice Arena for the district. RMSC began managing both facilities in April, but the contract was mutually terminated on Sept. 15.

RMSC has claimed that the park district owes it $99,000. The park district hired the accounting firm Lauterbach & Amen LLC, of Naperville, to do an audit.

“I hope to be able to provide you more information in the near future,” Heitz said. “But due to the ongoing negotiation over the matter, I will have no further comment at this time.”