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Hyde Park Kilwins Owner Says Employees Don't Feel Safe Returning To Work After Gunfire Comes Through Window

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Businesses and cars were shot up in Hyde Park in the middle of the day Tuesday, leaving a trail of glass and windows shattered – and sending bullets right into a Kilwins candy shop.

As CBS 2's Tara Molina reported Tuesday, the owner of the Kilwins franchise at 5226 S. Harper Ave. said some of her employees are telling her they don't feel safe coming back to work.

At 12:02 p.m. Tuesday, the Kilwins was one of two local businesses hit by gunfire, along with multiple vehicles, police said. No injuries were reported, but plenty of damage was done – and the owner said it could have been far worse.

Late Tuesday, staff at the Kilwins were still picking up broken glass, and the window that was shattered by a bullet was boarded up.

Inside, owner Jackie Jackson showed us a table of caramel apples that are now ruined.

"All this product on the table is damaged," she said, "because glass could have popped in it."

Luckily, no one was working in the candy kitchen at the Hyde Park Kilwins when the bullets pierced the glass. They had just pushed their hours back and were not open yet.

"Normally, the cook would be standing here - stirring caramel, making fudge," Jackson said, "and this is where the bullet hit."

As Jackson assessed the damage, she said the mark left on her livelihood is already rippling just hours later.

"All of the employees have pretty much put in a request to be transferred to another location," she said.

The Hyde Park Kilwins is Jackson's third franchise – the other two are on Michigan Avenue downtown and at Navy Pier. Jackson and her partners have managed to keep them all open through the COVID-19 pandemic, employee shortages, and criminal hits.

There have been large-scale thefts at the location in Hyde Park, and you may remember seeing her Michigan Avenue store looted in 2020, costing thousands in damages.

"We have to get control," Jackson said. "This is no way to live."

The Hyatt Place Hotel across Harper Avenue was also hit by gunfire, as well as the aforementioned parked cars. Chicago Police said Area One detectives are investigating.

"I don't know what to do," Jackson said. "We don't have anybody to work."

Jackson opened in Hyde Park long before so many others. Now, she is working to pick up the pieces and figure out how to stay in the neighborhood she loves.

"Tomorrow we have a big, huge delivery coming for our Christmas order," she said. "We are going to have to close the doors for a minute until I figure it out."

The incident happened just a couple hours before a University of Chicago graduate was shot and killed during a robbery a matter of blocks away.

Police said in that incident, a 24-year-old man was on the sidewalk on the 900 block of East 54th Place shortly before 2 p.m., when a vehicle pulled up, and a gunman got out and demanded his property.

The attacker then shot the victim in the chest, got back in the vehicle, and fled the scene.

The victim was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Both incidents happened in the Wentworth (2nd) Police District – which is bounded by 31st Street on the north, 60th and 61st streets on the south, Lake Michigan on the east, and the Dan Ryan Expressway on the west - though it does not include Jackson Park, which extends north to 56th Street at the lake.

Shootings in the Wentworth District are up 44 percent in the district over last year, and digging into the past two years, shootings are up 108 percent.

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