Gunday Funday: A look at how the courts have handled some recent gun cases in Chicago

How seriously do Cook County judges take firearms offenses in Chicago? Here is a look at some recent arrests and a few recent court resolutions:

• Employees at Big Wig Taco, 770 North LaSalle, called the police to report that a man had climbed onto one of their tables and pulled out a handgun at 4:30 a.m. on Feb. 25th. The workers alleged that Spencer Slawinksi then told one of them to hide the gun for him, but an employee said, “I want nothing to do with it, and you need to go,” police said in a report.

Instead, Slawinski allegedly ran into the kitchen and hid the firearm under a bag of onions. An employee escorted an arriving police officer into the kitchen to retrieve the gun while other officers questioned Slawinksi and placed him in custody, police said.

Slawinski was charged with felony unlawful use of a handgun; misdemeanor possession of a firearm without a Firearm Owner’s ID card, and two misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest.

Judge John Lyke released him on a recognizance bond.

The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel |

• Police were called to the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel on Saturday after a housekeeper reported finding a handgun on a guest room nightstand. Officers were taken to the room to observe the gun and then hotel staff put the cops in touch with the man who rented the room, 30-year-old Darius Denning of Indianapolis, according to court records.

Officers said they met with Denning outside the hotel where he told them that he knew housekeeping was in his room and had found a gun. Denning reportedly told officers that he is a convicted felon (although not a “violent” one) and he brought the gun from Indianapolis where it was given to him as a gift by his ex-girlfriend after they broke up.

Prosecutors charged Denning with being a felon in possession of a weapon. Judge Stephanie Miller set bail at $20,000. He can go free by posting a 10% deposit bond.

Case Results

Joshua Gills, 20, was sentenced to two years of “first offense gun probation” and 50 hours of community service by Judge Timothy Chambers in exchange for pleading guilty to one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Police said they found Gills with a handgun in his jacket near the scene of a “shots fired” call last June in the 800 block of North Kingsbury.

Jorge Romero, 27, was sentenced to two years probation and given credit for 172 days spent in jail after he pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon before Judge Neera Walsh.

Last August, Romero was hospitalized for six days after being shot in the stomach in the 5000 block of West Addison. Upon being discharged by doctors, police arrested him, and prosecutors filed gun charges against him because he was still in possession of a handgun when police found him bleeding out on the street six days earlier.

Ronnel Spencer was found not guilty on three felony firearms charges in a bench trial by Judge Lauren Edidin.

Spencer, 28, was accused of being armed with a handgun while trying to shoplift from an H&M store at 840 North Michigan Avenue in November 2017. Police reported that they were escorting Spencer to H&M’s loss prevention office when he tossed a loaded .38 caliber handgun as they walked through the accessories department.

But after hearing the evidence, Edidin found entirely in Spencer’s favor.
Back CWB’s reporting team and we’ll reward you with members-only reports and services all year long. Join HERE for just $49 a year or $5 a month.

Email      Facebook       Twitter       YouTube
About CWBChicago 4274 Articles
CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is