Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Parolees Charged In Harvey Shooting, Hostage Standoff

By Peter Nickeas, Chicago Tribune

Two parolees in their 40s were charged in connection with the shooting of a Harvey, Ill., police officer earlier this week that led to a hostage standoff in the Chicago South Suburb.

David Jordan, of Dixmoor and Peter Williams, of Chicago, were each charged with attempted murder of a police officer, aggravated criminal sexual assault with a firearm, home invasion, and aggravated kidnapping.

Both are expected in bond court in Markham, Ill., at 9 a.m.

Police said the two are responsible “for the shooting of Harvey Police Officer Darnel Keel and the hostage standoff within the 147000 block of Seeley on Aug. 19.”

Jordan is a convicted murderer and armed robber, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections. He was sentenced to 47 years in prison in 1990 and also charged with possessing a weapon in prison. He served exactly half that amount of time, according to a IDOC spokesman.

Williams was convicted three times of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in addition to convictions for concealing a homicide, aggravated vehicular hijacking, lacking a firearm owner’s ID card, and defacing a firearm’s identifying markings, according to DOC records.

The two are accused of breaking into a house, shooting two police officers, and then taking six kids and two women hostage for 21 hours.

The ordeal started about 1 p.m. Tuesday in a house at 147th Street and Robey Avenue, where police responded to a call of a break-in.

The first arriving officers exchanged gunfire with people inside, according to police, and the two men inside took everyone else hostage.

Photo: David D’Agastino via Flickr

Interested in national news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!

Family: Woman May Have Tried To Help Brother When Both Killed By Train

By Peter Nickeas, Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — A brother and sister in their 50s were struck and killed by a commuter train as they took a well-worn shortcut over the tracks through weeds and trees in Chicago, according to officials and family.

Relatives believe Margaret Huddleston, 54, may have been trying to get her brother Berry Huddleston, 57, off the tracks when they were both hit around 4:50 p.m. Thursday. They said Berry had lost most of his vision and was often helped around by Margaret.

Gloria Huddleston, sibling to the two victims killed by the Metra train, says she believes her sister died while trying to save her brother.

“He can’t really see. . . . It must have been she seen him about to get hit by the train, so she jumped in, but it was too late,” said LaTanya Huddleston, Margaret’s daughter. “We know her. We know she jumped in to try to save him and herself. We know how that went.”

She said everyone in the neighborhood uses the shortcut and that Metra trains regularly blow their horns to warn those crossing.

“Trains blow horns to state that they see you,” Huddleston said. “The train wouldn’t be that close to you and they’d still let you know. They know people cross all the time.

“It even be little kids up there,” she said. “You try to keep the kids off but you can’t, it’s a shortcut to get on the other side. It’s fast. Up and over.”

The tracks run on top of an embankment where the two were hit, with bridges and viaducts over every street in the area. There is no pedestrian walkway or crossing nearby, according to Metra spokesman Michael Gillis.

The accident held up trains on the Burlington Northern and Sante Fe line for hours, with some minor delays still reported early Friday morning.

Margaret’s husband, Larry Jackson, knelt and cried as crews covered the bodies in blue tarp and investigated the scene.

“I was praying to God it wasn’t them. I don’t even know how to hold myself up,” he said. “They’re already together. They’re real close.”

LaTanya Huddleston said her mother had eight children and more than 30 grandchildren.

“She was always with the grandkids, or going to the store for them. She was always out there,” Huddleston said. “Riding bikes, everything. She just did it all. She was a caretaker for my grandmother. She would massage her feet . . . wash her hair, perm it. You can’t describe all the stuff she did. She did a lot for one person. And she was a small woman. She had a big heart.”

Her uncle Berry “was great,” she said. “Singing around the house, stuff like that. He was outgoing. The blindness was getting him down. He was suffering from glaucoma.”

Huddleston said her grandmother was “devastated” by the deaths.

“But you know, you’ve got to move on from these events,” Huddleston said. “You can’t kill yourself over it. You just have to move on from the event and be strong for the rest of the family and the other kids, the grandkids.”

Photo via WikiCommons

Interested in national news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!

Chicago’s Fourth Of July Weekend Toll: 82 People Shot, 14 Of Them Fatally

By Peter Nickeas, Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — For 10 minutes, it seemed like the shooting was everywhere in the South Chicago neighborhood.

It started when someone shot and wounded a couple, then two people fired at the shooter, then there was a chase and shots exchanged and a man sitting on a porch was hit. Responding officers kept cutting each other off on their radios as they reported other gunfire in the area late Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Then the heavy equipment rolled in: A helicopter and SUVs packed with lockers of rifles. SWAT teams in green coveralls patrolled the streets with uniformed officers.

It was just one of dozens of shooting scenes across Chicago over the long Fourth of July weekend. In all, at least 82 people were shot, 14 of them fatally, since Thursday afternoon when two woman were shot as they sat outside a two-flat within a block of Garfield Park.
Five of the people were shot by police over 36 hours on Friday and Saturday, including two boys 14 and 16 who were killed when they allegedly refused to drop their guns.

Many of the long weekend’s shootings were on the South Side, clustered in the Englewood, Roseland, Gresham, and West Pullman neighborhoods that rank among the most violent in the city.

The victims ranged from the 14-year-boy shot by police in the Old Irving Park neighborhood to a 66-year-old woman grazed in the head as she walked up the steps of her porch on the Far South Side. Most victims were in their late teens and 20s.

Each night of the long holiday weekend, at least a dozen people were shot in the greatest burst of gun violence Chicago has seen this year.

— From Thursday night into Friday, three people were killed and 10 others wounded. An attack outside a West Englewood salon left two men dead and an East Garfield Park shooting took the life of a 21-year-old woman.

— From Friday afternoon into Saturday, 20 people were shot, one fatally. The man who died had been flashing gang signs in a parking lot in the Clearing neighborhood when someone told him to stop. When the man didn’t, he was shot, police said.

— From Saturday night into Sunday morning, four people were killed and another 10 wounded.

— The bloodiest stretch of the weekend was a 13-hour period between 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 3:30 a.m. Monday when four people were killed and at least another 26 wounded, many of them in critical condition. And the most chaotic scene was in South Chicago, where three people were wounded during a running gun battle.

The shooting started around 11:20 p.m. Sunday when someone opened fire at two people who just left a store on Exchange Avenue south of 80th Street. A 25-year-old man was taken in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and a 19-year-old woman was stabilized at Advocate Christ Medical Center.

While the man was firing, two people on the street shot at him and a chase ensued, with the three exchanging gunfire through a vacant lot west toward Escanaba Avenue, police and neighbors said.

The three didn’t hit each other but a 48-year-old man was caught in the crossfire while sitting on the porch. He was wounded in the ankle and taken to Jackson Park Hospital.

The shooting kicked off an hour of occasional chaos as responding officers kept hearing gunfire, first the exchange between the three, then an apparently unrelated volley of shots a few blocks west on Muskegon Avenue where police found shell casings on a porch.

A 10-1 — a call for an officer in distress — was broadcast across the city because the shots were so close to police.

Officers from across the South Side responded, including tactical teams who had been ordered to wear their uniforms instead of plainclothes for the holiday weekend.

Police were radioing about hearing gunfire all over the neighborhood, and a district lieutenant ordered a perimeter over a three-block-by-four-block area. No one was taken into custody.

As a helicopter circled overhead, someone shot up a house a few blocks south on Exchange Avenue, just outside the perimeter, around midnight. The gunfire was called over the police radio before any 911 calls were received, and officers ran down the street toward where the gunfire came from.

The house that was hit by gunfire, in the 8400 block of South Exchange, was near where a teen had been shot earlier in the day and police had responded to a call of a gang disturbance. A group of gang members had been hanging out outside and someone wanted them removed, police said.

About half an hour later, the neighborhood had finally quieted down. “Release the perimeter,” the lieutenant ordered, though he asked that patrol cars keep a watch on the four crime scenes.

Photo via WikiCommons

Interested in national news? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!

Rapper Big Glo, Chief Keef’s Cousin, Shot To Death

By Peter Nickeas, Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — A Chicago rapper who recently signed to a major record label and was a cousin of Chief Keef was shot to death Wednesday night in the Englewood section of Chicago.

Mario Hess — who went by Big Glo at the time of his death and Blood Money before being signed — was the oldest member of the Glory Boyz Entertainment crew and was Chief Keef’s second cousin.

Glo’s manager said he was trying to get the 33-year-old musician out of Englewood and the city. “It’s a lot of crime and violence in Chicago, these rap guys are being targeted, so you know, just trying to get him outside the neighborhood. He’s from the streets,” Renaldo Reuben Hess said early Thursday morning.

“He was basically trying to just get his rap career together because that’s a good opportunity,” he said. “They gave him some money up front. It was a good chance for him to get himself out the hood.”

Police said two shooters opened fire just south of 56th Street on Elizabeth Avenue around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, leaving more than two-dozen shell casings in the street.

Hess was shot as many as 10 times and pronounced dead at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. A 28-year-old man was wounded and taken to Stroger by a family member, Police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said. He was in serious condition.

Hess said he didn’t know the second person who was shot or his relationship with the rapper.

Police had a hard time keeping track of the shell casings at the scene. Ripped up index cards served as evidence markers until police were able to get plastic ones to the scene. But when the plastic markers were set next to the casings, they scraped across the pavement in the wind.

Hess was found south of a newer model dark red Cadillac Escalade. Four vacant lots bordered the crime scene.

Hess was a relatively minor but long-standing figure on a scene with its share of artists who have signed record label deals in recent years, including Chief Keef, Lil Reese, Young Chop and King Louie.

He was considered the elder statesman on Keef’s local imprint, Glory Boyz Entertainment, and had released several mix tapes of hard-core street rap that won a following on the local “drill” scene. Hess’ 2013 mix tape, “Drug Wars,” for Glory Boyz, reportedly led to his recent signing to Interscope Records, the same label that had signed Keef two years ago.

The rapper had a long arrest record, appearing in Cook County courts in at least 36 separate cases, according to records.

In September of 2002, Hess was charged with manufacturing and delivering cocaine. He pleaded guilty and some of the charges were dropped. He was sentenced to a year in jail and credited for almost 200 days time served.

In 2007, he pleaded guilty in a case where he was charged with weapons violations, including aggravated battery and possession of a firearm by a felon. He was sentenced to two years in jail and given credit for time served.

In April of 2008, January of 2009 and April of 2013, he was charged with possessing 30 to 500 grams of marijuana. He was given jail time for each of those cases after pleading guilty, records show, and credit for time served.

In the more recent case, he was sentenced to two years probation and was accused of violating that probation about eight months later.

This past year, Hess appeared on Chief Keef’s song, “F—Rehab.” His manager said Hess had recently signed a contract with Interscope Records.

This is the second shooting in two weeks involving someone associated with Keef.

Police say Keef was in the Northfield home of his manager in Northfield on March 26 when someone inside was shot and seriously wounded. He was a passenger in the car that dropped the wounded man off at NorthShore Skokie Hospital, Keef’s lawyer has said.

Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, was questioned in connection with the shooting and released. No arrests have been made.

Hess said he worried that it was only a matter of time before violence would catch up with him.

“I basically had an intuition about … just telling him he really needs to move out of Chicago,” Hess said. “He was trying to get the rest of this money and stay off the streets, you know?”

Photo: Michael Knapp viaw Flickr

More Than 30 Hurt When Train Jumps Platform At O’Hare Airport

By Peter Nickeas, Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — More than 30 people were injured Monday morning when a Chicago Transit Authority train jumped the platform and climbed up an escalator at the end of the Blue Line at O’Hare International Airport, officials said.

“I heard a boom and when I got off the train, the train was all the way up the escalator. It’s a wreck,” Denise Adams, who was riding toward the back of the train, told reporters. “It was a lot of panic because it was hard to get people off the train.”

Fire crews scrambled to determine if anyone was underneath the train but no one was found, according to Chicago Fire Commissioner Joe Santiago. All of the injured were aboard the train and were taken in fair or good condition to four hospitals, he said. The operator of the train “was walking and talking as we were investigating,” Santiago said.

The eight-car train was wedged near the top of an escalator used by commuters at the Blue Line terminal. CTA spokesman Brian Steele said workers may have to cut up the car and remove it piece by piece, which could take 12 to 24 hours. Then the damage will have to be assessed and repairs made before trains use the station, he said.

In the meantime, shuttle buses will be used between Rosemont, Illinois, and O’Hare.

Steele said the cause of the accident remained underO'Hare airport investigation. “We don’t know yet what led to this incident … We will be looking at everything _ equipment, signals, the human factor, any extenuating circumstances,” he said.

Steele did say the train was “apparently traveling at a higher rate of speed than a train would be” while pulling into the station and officials are trying to determine why. He said the National Transportation Safety Board was also investigating.

The accident happened around 2:50 a.m. “There is a stop down there for each track. There’s three tracks there. The train actually climbed over the last stop, jumped up the sidewalk and went up the escalator,” Santiago said.

More than 50 firefighters and paramedics responded, he said. “We did not know if there was anyone underneath the train … so we brought in our specialized units to check underneath there … They made a visual to make sure no one was underneath.”

Six people were listed in fair-to-serious condition and 26 in good-to-fair condition, fire officials on the scene said. Nine were transported to Resurrection Hospital, eight each went to Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center and Swedish Covenant Hospital, and seven went to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. All of the injured were passengers on the train, officials said.

Robert Kelly, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, which represents more than 3,500 CTA workers, said the operator suffered minor injuries to her leg.

The operator will undergo drug and alcohol tests as part of standard procedure, Steele said.

Initial inspections indicate that the front two cars of the train were damaged as well as the escalator, officials said.

“Once we remove the train, we’ll have a much clearer picture of what the issues are there,” said Chris Bushell, chief infrastructure officer for the CTA. “At this moment, it looks like we have significant damage to one escalator.”

While there was some structural damage to the platform as well, “the stairs look solid and the majority of the rest of the structure underneath looks solid.”

Steele said the accident occurred during one of the lowest traffic times at the station.

Photo: Michael Kappel via Flickr