Officer shot, suspect is 11th Chicago resident charged with killing or trying to kill someone while on bail for another felony case

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CHICAGO, IL– On Sunday, March 21st prosecutors charged a man with five counts of attempted murder after he reportedly shot a Chicago police officer, who responded to calls of shots fired on the West Side.

According to the state, 29-year-old Tracey Thomas Jr. also shot at a passing car, striking its passenger and narrowly missed shooting a Divvy bike rider in a ruse to draw police to the area. 

Court records show that Thomas has been at large on drug distribution charges since he stopped showing up for court appearances back in September 2020. He is the 11th person accused of killing or trying to kill someone in Chicago this year while on bond for another felony.

Prosecutors said that around 11:3o a.m. on Saturday, March 20th, a Divvy bike rider was traveling near the 200 block of North La Crosse when he heard a “click” and saw Thomas pointing a silver handgun at him.

Thomas allegedly fired a shot as the victim ducked out of the way, but the victim felt something pass through his clothing. The bike rider noticed a bullet hold in his clothing and fled as fast as he could while Thomas racked his gun, which had apparently jammed.

According to prosecutors, minutes later a woman was driving around the area searching for a parking spot when she heard a popping sounds. She stopped, thinking she had a tire problem. Her boyfriend got out of the car to look for any damage and as he did, someone shot him in his buttocks.

The couple fled the area and called for help. Meanwhile, a resident who saw Thomas firing at the couple, called the police.

Reportedly, two police officers and a Chicago Police Department (CPD) evidence technician were processing shell casings behind the resident’s house when they heard popping sounds and aw a bullet hold appear in one of their squad cars’ windows. All officers dove for cover. 

Other officers heard the gunfire and began chasing the gunman, who fled to a nearby home. From there, Thomas began firing at the officers from a first-floor window. One officer was shot in the hand.

While Thomas was inside of the home, he went on Facebook live where he admitted to shooting at people and pointed a chrome handgun at his own head. He was taken into custody outside the home after a stand-off.

During an interview with officers, he allegedly told them that he shot at the Divvy biker and the car passengers to lure police to the area so he could shoot at the cops and ultimately be killed by them.

Police recovered a handgun and ammunition from Thomas. Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood said she believes Thomas has on-going psychiatric issues and that he has no previous violent crime convictions. 

Court records show that Thomas received a recognizance bond for narcotics distribution charges back in September 2019. In March 2020, he violated the terms of his bail and was put on electronic monitoring with another recognizance bond. 

In June 2020, Judge Ursula Walowski released Thomas from electronic monitoring and around September 2020, he stopped showing up to court. On September 16, 2020, Walowski issued an arrest warrant for Thomas.

On Sunday, March 21st, Judge Arthur Willis ordered Thomas held without bail on a bond forfeiture warrant in the pending manufacture-delivery case. The judge also ordered Thomas held without bail on the five attempted murder counts. 

Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown said that following Saturday’s shooting, over all 20 officers have been shot or shot at in 2021. Brown said that the officers involved will not be identified until families have been notified. He said:

“This really highlights the dangers, but it also highlights the bravery, dedication, and commitment officers have in really running towards danger to protect the people of Chicago.”

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Welcome to Chicago: Carjacking caught on camera behind Dave Portnoy during Barstool Sports taping of “One Bite”

March 17th, 2021

CHICAGO, IL – While filming a segment for the show “One Bite Pizza Reviews,” Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy and his film crew captured more than pepperoni and sausage when a carjacking occurred in frame behind the host while filming.

 

The incident took place as the crew was filming for the popular pizza review series in South Loop outside Art of Pizza, a pizza shop on S. State Street in Chicago.

Portnoy and his crew were filming a pizza review outside the restaurant when a vehicle in the background pulled out of a parking spot and struck a police vehicle. The vehicle then continued, turning down another street and fleeing.

Chicago police said a 27-year-old man observed his vehicle with an unknown male inside. The victim alerted nearby officers in a Chicago Police SUV. The male then drove the stolen vehicle out of the parking spot and struck the side of the police SUV before fleeing. Chicago police issued a statement on their Twitter account:

“On March 10, a 27-year-old male victim observed his vehicle on the street with an unknown male offender inside. The victim then flagged down officers nearby in a marked CPD squad car. The offender then accelerated & struck the rear of the squad car before fleeing west on Polk.”

In the video posted to the Barstool Sports Twitter account, Portnoy is speaking with another man who walked up to the host asking him to try a chicken sandwich.  While joking around with the man, a crash can be heard in the background. Portnoy says:

“Did that guy just get carjacked?”

The other man then responds:

“I think the guy just hit the police car.”

Portnoy then turns back to the camera:

“That guy just got hijacked, and we probably have it on live tv.”

The film crew checks their video and discovers the entire crime was captured on film behind the host.

Speaking to Inside Edition following the incident, Portnoy said:

“I knew we had something really unique. We’ve been doing this pizza review thing now for close to four or five years. There’s been a lot of weird stuff. I’ve never had a car robbery.”

There were no injuries during the incident, and police did not chase the fleeing vehicle. Officials said the department has a policy against high-speed chases involving stolen vehicles.

The incident remains under investigation. Police pointed out that the crime was not actually a carjacking, as there was no threat of violence. They classify the crime as motor vehicle theft.

The film crew was there to review Art of Pizza for the show, which travels the country rating small pizza shops. For anyone wondering, the pizza was “good and tasty Chicago-style pub pizza,” according to Portnoy. The pizza scored a 6.8.

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Barstool Sports raises millions of dollars to help struggling small businesses: ‘Someone had to do it’

December 29, 2020

 

NEW YORK CITY- Some people (including the federal government) talk the talk. Others walk the walk. Under the latter category is Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, who has helped to raise over $6 million for small businesses. So while Congress ties up much-needed assistance to American businesses while pledging over $1 trillion to mostly ridiculous causes, Portnoy is actually doing something.

Portnoy grew tired of seeing the inaction taking place in Washington, DC., where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tied up the vital aid for people and small businesses impacted by COVID-19 over clearly and admittedly partisan reasons.

So Portnoy announced the effort with the nonprofit 30 Day Fund for small businesses and contributed $500,000 of his own money toward the fund, according to Fox Business.

 

“It was certainly humbling and a little embarrassing,” said Kerry Counard, who owns the Abbey Bar in Wisconsin.

That business was chosen as one of the initial six restaurants designated to receive funds. Counard said that he felt sorry of the “thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of small businesses” which were still struggling amid government-imposed lockdowns.

Counard told Fox Business that when he received the news that he had received the assistance, he had to pull over while he was driving due to being overwhelmed by the news.

The bar, which has been in business for 45 years had been taking cash donations made from grateful customers into gift cards for their frontline workers, such as nurses and teachers. Counard believes that is one reason Portnoy chose his restaurant to participate in and receive funds from the Barstool Fund.

“When we opened as take out only, being a neighborhood grill, we make money when people come in and sit down and have a drink and stick around,” Counard said.

“We got most of our business from college [which] went almost completely virtual this fall. We lost almost all that business.”

Counard said that it was “humbling” to see the merchandise featuring his restaurant’s logo on the website and said that people from all over the country have been purchasing hats and t-shirts. The funds realized will help pay his employees and keep his restaurant viable, he said.

“It’s like an extra Christmas gift,” he said. “It’s certainly going to help us bridge through the pandemic.”

The fund, which was introduced by Portnoy on Dec. 17 in a tweet said businesses could submit stories to [email protected] to be considered for the fund. The only catch is businesses have had to be continuing to pay their employees.

Barstool has been sharing video submissions from restaurant owners who asked to be considered as part of the fundraising effort on social media.

Likewise, Portnoy has been also sharing reaction videos from restaurant owners when they get notified they have been chosen to participate in The Barstool Fund. Several of the owners have been on the verge of tears after they heard from Portnoy.

Two of the restaurants chosen to receive funding have previously been visited by Portnoy, who reviews pizza shops as part of his “Barstool Pizza Review” series.

One of the owners, Connie R. Mama who owns Mama Mia in New York City appeared to get choked up when she received a call from Portnoy last week. She posted to twitter that she was “so moved” by the effort.

 

“My mom just passed in January, and I told her before she died, ‘Mom, don’t worry. I’m going to take care of the business,’” Mama said.

In addition to dealing with the shutdowns imposed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Mama also had a burglary to deal with, where the restaurant’s liquor supply was stolen.

She also said that she spent $12,000 on outdoor dining equipment to accommodate customers during New York City winters. The city recently banned indoor dining…again.

On the video, Portnoy told Mama that it is important for people to hear stories like hers, “because that’s what’s creating more people that donate” so that Barstool can “help more people and save more small businesses struggling amid the pandemic.” 

 

 

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