Mayor, Chicago police fuming after DA Foxx declines to charge five men linked to gang related shootout

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CHICAGO, IL- According to reports, on Friday, October 1st, five men linked to a deadly gang-related shootout in Austin were released from custody after prosecutors declined to charge each of them with a pair of felonies, including first-degree murder. 

Now, Mayor Lori Lightfoot warns that the city could be sent “into chaos” after Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx opted not to charges those involved in the mid-morning gunfight, which left one shooter dead and five more wounded.

Sources stated that police sought to charge all five suspects in custody with murder and aggravated battery. However, on Sunday, October 3rd, a Chicago police spokeswoman acknowledged the suspects had been released without charges.

In a statement, Cristina Villareal, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney office, explained:

“Prosecutors had determined that the evidence was insufficient to meet our burden of proof to approve felony charges.”

Villareal also claimed that Chicago Police Department (CPD) officials had agreed with the decision. While she wouldn’t specify what other evidence prosecutors needed to file charges, the police report acknowledged that victims of the shootout were not cooperating with investigators.

She added that the decision not to charge the five men was made because the people who were killed were “mutual combatants.” This is a legal term used to define a fight or struggle that two parties willingly engage in.

Fox News reported that Lightfoot, a former prosecutor, is now demanding answers from the city’s top prosecutor about why Foxx had cited the suspects as “mutual combatants” and opted not to press charges against anyone involved despite the fact that Chicago police officers had been on the scene and the mayhem was captured on video.

During a press conference on Monday, October 4th, Lightfoot said:

“She’s got to explain to the public, why. Given that evidence, a pod camera right there that captured the entire thing and police officers on the scene in uniform, and a squad car there, why that isn’t enough.”

She added:

“If the bad guys that are out there that are picking up guns and shooting without any regard for the sanctity of life, do not believe that there’s accountability for then, the brazenness will not end it. It will escalate, it will continue and our communities will not be safe.”

Police reportedly recovered more than 70 shell casings from the street. However, that number did not include the shell casings that were found inside the house. A source said in a statement:

“It’s just like the Wild West.”

Lightfoot told reporters:

“Having looked at this, gotten a deep understanding from the detectives that were doing the investigation, it’s really hard to understand that decision.

It’s complicated for sure, but we really urge the State’s Attorney herself to get personally involved, look at the evidence, and I believe that there are charges that can be brought at a minimum against the individuals who initiated the gunfire.”

Fox News reported that Lightfoot and five aldermen representing areas nearby where the incident occurred sent a letter to Foxx’s office that implored the state’s attorney reconsider murder charges against the two of the surviving aggressors. Lightfoot added:

“We can’t live in a world where there is no accountability. When there’s no accountability, meaning individuals who wreak havoc, who fire indiscriminately or fire at a target but without any regard for the sanctity of life and the health and well-being of others, if they do not feel like the criminal justice system is going to hold them accountable, we’re going to see a level of brazenness that will send the city into chaos. We cannot let that happen.”

Police stated the gunfight started in the Austin neighborhood at about 10:30 a.m. on October 1st after three members of one gang opened fire into a house with fully automatic weapons in an attempt to draw out members of a rival faction in the same gang.

Once the gun battle ended, suspects inside the house refused to come out and the SWAT team had to be brought in. 

The politicians’ letter to Foxx suggested that the suspects had entirely too much time to destroy evidence and get rid of guns while they waited for SWAT to arrive and called on the state’s attorney to investigate. Foxx stood firm on her decision and doubled down on the criticism by Lightfoot, saying:

“As a former federal prosecutor, the mayor knows of the ethical obligation of the prosecutor to only bring forth charges where the facts, evidence and law support it. She is also fully aware that as a prosecutor we are obligated not to try cases in the media.

It is unclear why she has chosen to make such statements, especially absent the full information that was presented to our office by CPD.”

Foxx added:

“The facts the mayor presented today simply are not in line with what was presented to us by CPD and not born out of the evidence we received.

The staggering violence that is devastating our communities is horrific, however, we must still adhere to both our ethical and legal standards in evaluating charges. As a former prosecutor, she knows that.”

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Little boy, 8, fatally shot in the head during gang-related drive-by shooting in gun-controlled Chicago

September 29th, 2021

MARKHAM, IL- According to authorities, on Monday, September 27th, an 8-year-old boy was fatally shot while playing on a porch in the city’s south suburbs.

Family members have identified the young boy as Demetrius Stevenson. Police stated that at least one man allegedly got out of a car and fired shots into the home, which is located in the 1500 block of Homan Avenue. The boy was struck in the head and died from his wounds. 

Community activist Andrew Holmes said in a statement:

“They shot and killed an 8-year-old that could not defend himself and probably did not even see it coming.”

Authorities said it is gang-related shooting and the boy’s 18-year-old brother was the intended target.

The older brother reportedly tried to save the 8-year-old’s life and carried him out to police. Police stated that the 18-year-old, who has not been named, is in custody on a separate warrant and is being questioned about the shooting.

The Daily Mail reported that Markham City coordinator Michael Taylor said Stevenson’s older brother is a well-known gang member. Taylor said:

“For some reason, a group of individuals made their way down to the address, coming from the city of Chicago, trying harm this … 18-year-old older brother. They see him and they started to shoot.”

Taylor added that authorities are trying to figure out the make and model of the vehicle the shooter was in.

Police reported went door-to-door, meticulously trying to find out anything about the vehicle or shooter. As of this writing, it remains unknown as to how many people were in the car when shots were fired.

Stevenson’s family told Legal Help Firm that Demetrius loved school and was in the third grade. Neighbor Ed Winston said:

“I’ve been here 33 years and never seen nothing like this.”

The shooting comes as crime skyrockets in the city. Shooting incidents in Chicago are up 10 percent since September 19th, with 2,596 incidents this year as compared to the 2,351 in the same period in 2020.

According to Fox News, in Chicago, 261 kids were shot, a larger total than the amount of kids who have died from COVID-19 across the United States this year, which is a total of 214. Over Labor Day weekend alone, 63 people were shot, including eight children.

When speaking to reporters earlier in the month of September, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown had a message for criminal offenders, asking them:

“Why are you continuing to be around young people, our children? You’re harming this community. You’re harming these families and we will be relentless in pursuing you as an offender.”

According to CBS Chicago, over the weekend of September 24th-26th, at least nine people were killed in citywide shootings, including a female high school wrestling champ who was 18-years-old. There were a total of 67 shootings citywide. 

Melissa ‘Azul’ de la Garza was coming back from a day of shopping for Halloween costumes and had just finished a Facetime call with her sister when an unidentified man approached her car and shot her multiple times in the torso before fleeing. 

A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department (CPD) stated that the motive for the shooting is unclear and investigators are actively searching for the suspect.

According to a newsletter from the school, Melissa was the only girl on the wrestling team at Solorio Academy High School and the second in the school’s history.

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After 50+ shot and 9 killed in Chicago during weekend, mayor suddenly wants more money for cops

September 21st, 2021

CHICAGO, IL – The weekend spanning from the evening of September 17th through the 19th served as another weekend rife with violence in Chicago, as there were a reported over 50 shooting victims with nine people killed.

The news regarding the violent weekend also comes at a time where Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled her 2022 budget proposal, where Mayor Lightfoot is looking to spend additional funds on law enforcement in light of the concerning level of shootings in the city.

According to the Chicago Police Department, more than 50 individuals were shot, nine of them fatally, in 45 different shooting incidents between 6:00 p.m. on September 17th through 11:59 p.m. on September 19th.

A pair of double murders on the West and South sides, as well as numerous drive-by shootings, were among the occurrences, according to authorities.

A drive-by shooting in the 1900 block of South St. Louis Avenue shortly after midnight on September 18th resulted in two male victims being killed, aged 29 and 34. According to police, a suspect fired a shot from inside a red car before fleeing the area. Both victims were reportedly shot in the head and were pronounced deceased thereafter.

A 31-year-old male was discovered unresponsive in the 200 block of East 121 Place with a gunshot wound to his torso and buttocks less than an hour later, at 12:50 a.m. He was transported to Christ Hospital, where he was declared deceased a short time later.

Following an altercation with a lady in the 3100 block of West Arlington, a 21-year-old male was fatally shot at approximately 2:39 a.m. on September 18th. During the altercation, an unknown male approached the victim and shot him in the chest, arm, and hip several times.

Two other fatal shootings occurred slightly before 4:00 a.m. that same morning. One involved a 33-yearold man being fatally shot while standing next to his vehicle in the 800 block of North Orleans, where authorities say the assailant was inside of a blue SUV during the shooting.

The second around the same time occurred in the 100 block of West 57th Street, where a 27-year-old male tow truck driver was shot numerous times by an unknown assailant while he was trying to provide service.

At approximately 1:25 p.m. on September 19th, a 28-year-old man and a 33-year-old man were fatally shot while standing outside along the 11800 block of South Emerald Avenue. Police say that two unknown shooters approached the men and opened fire before fleeing – leaving both victims with multiple gunshot wounds, including to the head.

In a shooting in the 8300 block of South Vincennes Avenue, one male was killed, and three women were wounded. At approximately 11:35 p.m. on September 19th, all four were in a car when an unidentified passenger of a red van opened fire, killing the male driver.

The car then collided with a steel beam and came to a full halt under a railway bridge, according to police. Two of the women injured were reported as being in critical condition, whereas the third woman was cited as being in fair condition.

Following the weekend of violence, Mayor Lightfoot announced her $16 billion 2022 budget proposal on September 20th, which aims to increase police spending from $1.7 billion to $1.9 billion.

Addressing city leaders during the announcement of her budget proposal, Mayor Lightfoot stated the following regarding safety in the city of Chicago:

“I know that community safety and thriving communities are at the top of all of our minds wherever you live in Chicago.”

“Too often, when we talk about community violence, we forget the victims. We know of them, but they are more than crime statistics. The lives deeply impacted by the violence that once it comes to their doorstep, it lives on in some form forever.”

Aside from increasing police expenditure, the budget plan includes approximately $400 million for community safety, $45 million for violence intervention programs and community organizations, and $10 million for youth diversion programs and wellness programs for Chicago Police officers.

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Chicago businesses being cited for mask violations as shootings and murders skyrocket in the city

(Originally published September 12th, 2021)

CHICAGO, IL – As shootings continue to plague the city of Chicago, city officials have been spending time on issuing dozens of fines to local businesses for failing to comply with the state’s indoor mask mandates.

Following the city’s reintroduction of an indoor mask mandate, Chicago’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection department has performed over 100 investigations into various businesses suspected of running afoul, issuing 20 citations and 16 warnings between August 20th and the 29th. Said businesses impacted ranged from restaurants, grocery outlets and even nightclubs.

After removing the mask requirement for fully vaccinated persons in May, the Chicago Department of Public Health said in August that the city’s mask rule will be reinstated – whether someone is vaccinated or not – and the reinstatement applied in August even extends to toddlers wearing face coverings:

“All individuals aged 2 and over, regardless of their vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask as of Friday, August 20, while indoors in public settings.”

“Masks are required in all indoor public settings, including bars and restaurants, gyms, common areas of condos and multi-residential buildings, and private clubs.

Similar to previous mask mandates, masks can be removed at restaurants, bars and other eating/drinking establishments by patrons when they are actively eating and drinking.”

CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady says that this mask mandate “will only be temporary and we can bend the COVID curve,” adding that the current COVID case numbers are rising to alarming levels and measures need to be taken to address it:

“But with case counts now rising back to this level, the risk has increased for everyone, even those who are vaccinated. The time to act is now to prevent further spread.

Chicago residents who have not yet been vaccinated should get a vaccine as soon as possible—it will protect you and your loved ones from the risk of serious illness or even death.”

However, numerous shootings continue to occur in Chicago as the city clamps down on local businesses that fail to comply with mask mandates imposed by city officials.

Over the Labor Day weekend alone, at least 63 individuals were shot throughout the city, six of those victims being fatally shot.

ABC 7 reported that during the Labor Day weekend, as many as 8 of the gunshot victims were children, and one of those killed was a 4-year-old boy. Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown noted that the children being hurt and killed within the city stems mostly from gang violence:

“It’s always some other offender, gang member, criminal network, some beef, and they’re targeting some adult, and young people are nearby and they are shot as innocent bystanders.”

Reports indicate that Chicago has already seen more shootings and murders in 2021 than that of the entirety of 2019. When it comes to children being shot throughout the city in 2021, at least 280 children have been injured – and 35 have been killed by gunfire.

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Police: 33-year-old man fatally shot while shielding daughter from gunfire in gun-controlled Chicago

(Originally published September 4th, 2021)

CHICAGO, IL- According to reports, 33-year-old Travell Miller’s last act before dying in an ambush on the West Side, was shielding his 7-year-old daughter from gunfire, possibly saving her life. 

On Thursday, September 2nd, Miller’s father, Joseph Gilmore, said in a statement:

“He was simply driving his daughter to school. He was talking to his mother [on the phone] as this guy runs up on the car. His mother hears the son say, ‘Dang man, what the (expletive).’ She hears commotion and then hears him say, ‘Mama, Mama, I’ve been shot.’”

According to authorities, Miller had been stopped in traffic around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, September 1st, in the 3000 block of West Chicago Avenue when the gunman got out of another car, walked up and opened fire. Miller was hit four times and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Gilmore said that a doctor told him that the location of Miller’s wounds show he had bent over to protect his daughter. Gilmore added:

“She’s traumatized. She’s devastated that she watched her father get killed.”

Police have released photos of the suspected attacker and the car he was driving, which was a silver two-door Grand Prix with no plates. Gilmore said:

“I pray that God serves them the same dish they gave my son.”

Detectives are reportedly investigating if the shooting stemmed from road rage. Gilmore said that he and his family have no other idea why Miller would have been targeted, adding that he had no enemies and had just moved to the neighborhood five days earlier.

Miller’s identical twin brother, Lavell Miller said news of his brother’s death has left him feeling “hollow,” adding:

“He wasn’t part of any gang life, criminal life. He wasn’t a troubled man, didn’t have any enemies. He was a brother, a father, a son. He was a partner.”

The brother’s “did everything together,” including moved to Miami, Florida to pursue careers in bartending. Lavell said:

“I introduced him to bartending, but when we did it together, it was ten-times magnified. I have a lot of family, but he was my twin brother. It’s a special bond and it’s a special thing.”

Miller came up with the name, “Bar-twin-ders” to market themselves as a bartending duo. Lavell said:

“I thought that was the right amount of corny.”

Lavell said that COVID made the job impossible in Miami, so they both moved back to Chicago. Lavell added:

“We talked about picking up where we left off. It’s been a financial struggle because of the pandemic. We know finally saw a way to navigate some success through this. We had plans. I was looking forward to us being a team for a very long time.”

Gilmore said that Miller grew up with his family in Maywood and was a star wrestler at Proviso East High School. He studied graphic design and loved video games. Gilmore added:

“All he wanted to do was treat the world like the sandbox it is. He wanted to be the guy who was paid to test video games.”

Miller’s passions adapted as he grew into adulthood and had his first daughter when he was in college. She was given to adopted parents in Minnesota, but he stayed close with her and saw her every year. Lavell said:

“I just want people to know he was a good man. I don’t want him to be just another hashtag or photo on a T-shirt. I want people to know he was a real legacy and that was the most important thing to us – your life resume.”

Miller’s family is pleading for help in finding the suspect who killed their son. Gilmore said:

“That was my boy. That was my son. My first born and I want anybody that was out there to show us some love. You can’t say nobody saw that happened. It was 7:30 on two main streets.”

Police have asked anyone with information on the murder to call detectives or submit a tip anonymously to cpdtip.com.

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