'He didn't have an enemy anywhere. Not one': Friend shocked by suburban restaurateur's death
Friends of Peter Rim, the suburban restaurateur shot and killed Thursday in Chicago, remembered him as a warm and caring person with a larger-than-life personality.
Rim, 46, of South Barrington, had tons of friends, many of whom posted about their grief and memories on Facebook, said Jeff Dunham of Chicago, his business partner and friend of 25 years.
"I'm crushed," Dunham said through tears. "The guy was bigger than life. In 20 lifetimes, you wouldn't meet a character like him, with a personality as big as they come. He was just amazing."
Rim and Dunham, along with another business partner, Jino Kim, co-owned El Cochino restaurant in Lake in the Hills and Bistro Wasabi restaurants in Lake in the Hills and Hoffman Estates, Dunham said.
Chicago police said Rim was riding in the passenger seat of a vehicle traveling west on the 4100 block of West Diversey Avenue when an SUV pulled alongside. There was a verbal exchange, and someone in the SUV pulled out a gun and opened fire, striking Rim in the head.
Police said Friday no one is in custody and the investigation is ongoing.
Dunham said Rim was a passenger in a car with common friend Kurt Anderson, a chef at El Cochino. He called Dunham about 6:40 a.m. Thursday, just after Rim was shot.
"He called me, literally screaming, that Peter had gotten shot," Dunham said. "They were on the street, a car pulled up next to them. The guy was saying something to them. Peter opened the window and the guy shot five times."
"It was just random," Anderson said in an interview with WGN-TV. "There was no provoking. There was nothing. Peter didn't deserve this -- at all."
Dunham said he arrived at Mount Sinai Hospital as an ambulance carrying Rim arrived. "He wasn't dead when I got there. He was still alive, semi stable. It's kind of crazy. Thirty minutes later, the head of trauma came in and told me, 'Look, it's not good.'"
His murder was absolutely shocking, Dunham said, adding police told him it might be a case of mistaken identity.
"He didn't have an enemy anywhere. Not one," he said. "I don't think if you hit him, the guy would get in a fight."
Chicago police spokeswoman Jennifer Bryk declined to comment on whether authorities were looking at mistaken identity as a factor.
Rim was well-known in the Chicago nightclub scene, particularly in the River North neighborhood, said friend Jermaine Christopher Hudson, who used to work at Sound-Bar. "He was energetic, very sarcastic, warm and welcoming," Hudson said. "And quite frankly, unconventional."
Hudson said he last spoke with Rim about 6 a.m. Wednesday, when Rim -- used to staying up into the early morning hours with friends -- called him "just to talk."
"We always had deep, thought-provoking conversations. We talked about the industry, how we can make it better," Hudson said. "He pretty much was the guy that everyone knew. The door staff, the managers, the bar service girls. ... He's just one of those faces that everyone knew."
Rim was a born restaurateur who never hesitated to cook on special order, said Dunham, who also is a partner in the LifeZone 360 Sports Complex in West Dundee. "I came into the restaurant, it was like, 'What am I going to make you?'" he said. "It was his nurturing soul."
Rim has a younger brother who lives out of state and parents who live in Illinois, Dunham said.
He was into clothing and fashion but didn't value material things very much, Dunham said.
"He was into people and having fun," Dunham said. "He was a fun-loving, caring guy. Peter was just a nut. He was the life of the party, period."
Friend Jay Walker, who lives in Elva just south of DeKalb, said Rim never hesitated to help out friends in need.
Two years ago, on a cold and snowy winter day, Rim picked up Walker and another friend after a Chicago Bears football game, drove them to the North Side of Chicago for pizza, then drove them to Bistro Wasabi in the suburbs and finally took Walker home -- a drive of 80 miles total.
"He always had positive things to say," Walker said. "You could always count on him. Whether you were happy or sad, Peter always built you up."
• Daily Herald staff writer Harry Hitzeman contributed to this report.