|Shane Sleeper (inset) is now facing terrorism, hate crime, stalking, and 20 more counts.
BREAKING 9PM: Police tonight confirmed that a manhunt is underway after Sleeper was erroneously released by the Cook County Jail. Info HERE.
A Lakeview man who allegedly threatened to unleash a mass shooting inside a popular Boystown bar is now facing terrorism, hate crime, and a host of new charges. He has been ordered held without bail.
Sleeper was initially charged with a series of misdemeanor harassment counts and was held in lieu of $300,000 bail. But that changed dramatically on Tuesday when a Cook County grand jury’s “true bills” of 26 crimes involving ten separate cases were presented to Sleeper in court.
One after another, Sleeper was charged with two felony counts of terrorism-false threat; two felony counts of hate crime; two felony counts of stalking; seven felony counts of harassment-threatening to kill; three felony counts of repeated harassment-threatening to kill; felony impersonation of a peace officer; felony impersonation of an attorney; and misdemeanor counts of assault, electronic harassment-threat; phone harassment; repeated phone harassment; criminal trespass; and two counts of misdemeanor electronic harassment-obscene proposition.
He entered “not guilty” pleas to every charge.
Judge Matthew Coghlan ordered him held without bail on the terrorism and hate crime cases. Bail was set at $100,000 in seven of the other cases. Bail for the final case was set at $25,000.
If convicted of terrorism-false threat, Sleeper faces a sentence of four to fifteen years on each count. The terrorism charges could bring sentences of 15 to 30 years each if he is convicted in connection with a hate crime.
“Orlando Will Happen In Chicago”
The most serious charges against Sleeper involve threats he allegedly made against the employees and patrons of Sidetrack, the iconic Chicago gay bar at 3349 North Halsted Street.
Prosecutors say Sleeper contacted a Sidetrack manager in January and repeatedly threatened to kill the manager, staff, and patrons of the bar. “The next mass shooting is not a threat. It is a reality,” Sleeper allegedly said in a message to the bar. “Pray for Orlando,” he added, a reference to the June 2016 slaying of 49 people and injury of 53 others in a mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.
On two separate nights in January, Sleeper allegedly stood outside of Sidetrack and made shooting gestures with his hand at the bar manager, according to grand jury records. On the second night, Sleeper allegedly sent a message to the manager saying that “the next mass shooting is reality” “guns will be had” and the manager would be among the dead. As CWBChicago reported first in March, prosecutors said in court that Sleeper sent a message saying “Orlando will come to Chicago.” He went on to refer to Sidetrack employees and customers as faggots.
|Sleeper working as a bar promo rep in Florida. | Instagram
New charges returned by the grand jury include allegations that Sleeper threatened employees of a company that he says hired him to promote beers. Sleeper claimed on social media that a supervisor at the job sexually harassed him, but the company denied the charge and said Sleeper was an independent contractor.
The situation escalated in late January and early February when Sleeper allegedly called the promotions company repeatedly and threatened employees, according to prosecutors. Sleeper told one woman at the company that she should be raped and he repeatedly threatened to kill her, according to charges.
One day early this year, Sleeper allegedly showed up at the promo company’s office and claimed to be an attorney named “Michael Shane” who was bringing a lawsuit against the company. Sleeper is accused of demanding to be allowed into the company’s office, though he was allegedly prohibited from being on the premises.
In another case, Sleeper allegedly approached a different company and claimed to be a police officer who was conducting an investigation of one of their employees. The man was also subjected to repeated death threats and harassment, the allegations say. Sleeper is accused of posting “derogatory comments” and death threats against the man on Instagram.
On Valentine’s Day, a Boystown man reported receiving a message from Sleeper that said, among other things, “it’s always the wrong ones who end up getting shot.” A death threat against the man was also included, prosecutors said.
In court last month, Sleeper repeatedly asked Judge Marvin Luckman for an opportunity to speak. “These things are on social media and I have no way to respond,” he said. “My attorney hasn’t told me to how to contact her.”
The public defender answered Sleeper’s charge bluntly: “That is a lie, your honor.” Sheriff’s deputies then escorted Sleeper back to jail.