WICKER PARK – Colleagues of a man who was shot dead in a bar in Wicker Park last week are raising money to help cover his living expenses and medical bills as he begins a long recovery.
Jordan Mendez grabbed a drink Feb. 6 at The Point, 1565 N. Milwaukee Ave., after his shift as a server at the DSTRKT Bar & Grill down the street. Shortly after The Point closed at 5 a.m., police said Daveon Montgomery fired multiple shots into the bar. Mendez was shot just below his right eye.
Montgomery was charged last week with aggravated assault and aggravated discharge of a weapon in an occupied building, according to police and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, and is being held without bond.
DSTRKT owner Frank Maza said Wednesday that Mendez was an innocent bystander and was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“He was there maybe 20 minutes. I don’t even think he’s finished his first beer,” Maza said.
Mendez was rushed to the hospital and underwent multiple surgeries to remove the bullet and attempt to save his eye, Maza said. Mendez’s recovery is expected to last at least three months, leaving him unable to work, Maza said.
DSTRKT wants to raise $20,000 for Mendez and his family to pay for living expenses, medical expenses and other expenses, Maza said. They raised over $6,600 through GoFundMe on Wednesday afternoon.
“At the moment it’s about saving his eye and getting the ball out and all that, but once the dust settles he’ll have to deal with a lot more,” Maza said.
Mendez started working at DSTRKT as a barback in August and has emerged as a reliable employee, Maza said.
“We realized he was a special kid, he’s a good kid and we promoted him to server. We trained him, promoted server and we started training him as a bartender as well,” said Maza.”…He’s just a good boy all around.”
Even after being shot, Mendez was still preoccupied with work, Maza said. The day after the shooting, Mendez texted a workgroup chat, apologizing to his co-workers for missing his scheduled hours.
“He’s like, ‘Hey, I’m so sorry I couldn’t find someone to cover my shift,’ because he was supposed to be working,” Maza said.
DSTRKT is also hosting an in-person fundraiser on Monday, collecting donations from customers and donating a portion of the proceeds to Mendez.
GoFundMe organizers wrote that Mendez volunteers with local nonprofits and mentors at Roberto Clemente High School. They also said he moved to Humboldt Park to be closer to his mother, who is recovering from brain surgery.
“I think he’s doing a really good job of staying positive, although I know inside he’s probably fighting demons. He’s doing great, but I think he’s struggling a bit with it. Maza said.
The shoot is the second associated with The Point in five months. One person was killed and four others were injured on October 10 in a shooting outside the bar.
Owner Jun Lin said last week that he has since tightened security at the bar and staff are diligently checking IDs at the door.
“We do everything we can to be a company. We were simply victims of two gunshots. It’s violence in Chicago. I don’t think the answer is in my close affairs, as we haven’t done anything wrong,” he said.
But the superintendent of police. David Brown closed The Point on February 8, believing the bar to be a “threat to public safety”, according to a notice posted on the bar’s door.
The notice says Lin can request a hearing “before the mayor to determine if a threat to public safety has occurred.”
If Lin does not request a hearing, the business could remain closed for up to six months, the notice said.
Lin did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
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