Three men were killed and another was injured after a hit-and-run crash in the city's South Shore neighborhood.
Authorities said the crash happened around 5 a.m. on Aug. 14 in the 7000 block of S. Jeffery Blvd., when a sedan traveling southbound struck four men near longtime Black gay nightspot Jeffery Pub, according to a report Windy City Times received from the Chicago Police Department. Several people got into an argument inside the bar, and it spilled into the street, Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said at an Aug. 15 press conference, per Block Club Chicago, adding that the vehicle has been found.
The crash did appear to be intentional "just based upon what everybody is seeing" in videos of the hit-and-run, Deenihan added.
Three men were transported to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead. Another male victim was transported to Stroger; his condition was unknown. No one is currently in custody. The victims have been listed as Devonta Vivetter, 27, of Chicago; Jaylen Ausley, 23; and Donald Huey, 25, of suburban South Holland.
A candlelight vigil and balloon release were scheduled to take place Sunday, Aug. 14, at 7:30 p.m. [UPDATE: Facebook posts have stated there will be no vigil on Aug. 14 until further notice in order to respect the family's wishes; however, Windy City Times has been unable to independently verify this.]
An individual who goes by the name De Vanderbilt (on Facebook) spoke with Windy City Times about the activities that go on at the establishment. Vanderbiltwho was not at the Aug. 14 incident but who later saw a video of the incidentsaid, "People have been drag-racing throughout the city for quite a while, and Jeffery happens to be one of those, like Stony Island, Doty [Road] and the West Side, like on Madison and Kostner.
"People drive recklessly and it's always at the hours those kids get out of the clubs," added Vanderbilt, who knew one of the victims through a nephew. "What happened this morning was bound to happen. The kids are acting a fool on their ownalways fightingand some of those passersby [don't like] that club being around for as many years as it has been. I believe that the person who drove through them did that on purpose; he kept driving. … There's just been senseless violence. And after it happened, one of the boys is standing off to the side, saying 'What!,' like he's ready to fight. Did you not look behind you, baby? There's a boy lying dead in the road. Go check on him."
On its Facebook page, Jeffery Pub stated, "A very unfortunate tragic event occurred early this morning after closing. A small group of people were in the street and an unidentified vehicle drove past at a very high rate of speed injuring several people and some deceased. Our hearts [are] heavy this morning that such [a] tragic event has occurred. And to those that lost a loved one or friend, we stand with you. We always encourage everyone to leave and go to your vehicles right away to make it home safe. And tonight this happened. If anyone has any information to assist in finding out who did this, please contact us immediately and you will remain anonymous."
Jeffery Pub owner Jamal Junior specifically messaged Windy City Times, "This is still under investigation and our condolences are with the families of those affected. The entire Jeffery Pub is stunned and overwhelmed by this tragedy. So please allow us time to grieve and understand what really happened."
The incident has now had national implications. In a press release, National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director Dr. David J. Johns said the crash should be investigated as a hate crime: "It is incumbent upon the Chicago Police Department to investigate this attack as more than just a triple homicide and attempted murder, but also as a potential hate crime. Chicago is experiencing a wave of violence against LGBTQ+ people, specifically Black LGBTQ+/SGL people, that the police are simply not taking seriously.
"There have been more than seven Black trans women murdered in the last two yearsand their cases remain unsolved and largely ignored."
NOTE: People with information about the driver are asked to call investigators at 312-747-8380.