Repeat gun offender, free on bail for gun possession, is charged with murdering teen in drive-by

Antawan Smith | CPD

Monday, after a weekend in which 52 people were shot and 10 were killed in Chicago, the police department’s top spokesperson shared some even more depressing information via Twitter:

“As of this afternoon, 11 of the 19 individuals arrested on gun charges over the weekend by #ChicagoPolice are already out on the street. 7 of the individuals were previously convicted felons and 6 had prior gun offenses in their backgrounds.”

Anthony Guglielmi’s revelation that gun offenders were being sent right back onto the streets is not news to CWBChicago readers, of course. 

To further illustrate his point, CWBChicago this week will profile recent cases in which accused gun offenders received low bails…and many went on to commit new violent crimes.

Last September, a Chicago police SUV pulled up next to Antawan Smith at a red light on the Far South Side. An officer in the squad car looked into Smith’s car. He saw Smith looking back at him, pulling his t-shirt down to cover a gun in his waistband, according to police.

Smith was on parole at the time after being released early from prison for his second gun felony.

Cops say they saw Smith throw the gun from his car (it was loaded when they recovered it) and other officers later caught up with Smith following a foot chase. They said he was carrying about 8 grams of crack cocaine.

Prosecutors charged Smith with Class X felony armed habitual criminal; Class X felony armed violence with a weapon; felony manufacture-delivery of cocaine; felony repeated unlawful use of a weapon by a felon; felony aggravated fleeing and traffic violations.

On March 11 of this year, the state dropped the armed habitual criminal charge, and Smith went free by posting a $6,000 deposit bond—ten percent of the bail amount set by Judge Michael Clancy.

Jaylin Ellzey | Family photo

Two months later, while free on bail, Smith murdered 15-year-old Jaylin Ellzey in a drive-by shooting, prosecutors say.

Smith remained on the streets until cops caught up with him during a street stop on May 25th. That’s when police tried to pull him over for a traffic violation on the South Side. Smith sped from the scene, crashed, and tried to run away, police said. They allegedly found a loaded 9-millimeter handgun under the driver’s seat.

Prosecutors have charged him with first-degree murder; Class X aggravated battery by discharge of a firearm and Class X armed habitual criminal—the same count they dropped on March 11th.

Smith is now being held without bail.

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About CWBChicago 4275 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