4-year sentence for felon who had gun near River North “shots fired” incident

A nine-time convicted felon has been sentenced to four years in prison for illegally possessing a handgun after shots were fired near a River North nightclub one year ago.

Police pulled Isaiah Ayala over in the Loop after witnesses reported seeing him and another person get into an SUV and speed from the shooting scene on the 400 block of North Orleans around 2:50 a.m. on Mar. 17, 2019. No one was struck by any gunfire, but about 10 shell casings were found on the street, police said.

Isaiah Ayala | CPD

Officers who stopped Ayala on the 300 block of West Randolph moments later found a handgun in his possession, according to police. But he was never charged with firing the gun.

The “shots fired” incident unfolded in the River North bar district nine days after a double shooting at Sound-Bar nightclub left a doorman dead and one of its owners injured.

Ayala, age 33, has now pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a weapon. Prosecutors dropped five additional felony weapons charges as part of a plea deal with Ayala. He will receive credit for 299 days spent in jail awaiting trial. With Illinois’ standard 50% sentence reduction for good behavior, Ayala is scheduled to be paroled on Mar. 10, 2021.

According to state records, Ayala was sentenced to four concurrent one-year prison terms in June 2019 for driving on a suspended license, two counts of reckless driving on a DUI-suspended license, and felony cannabis possession.

He also received a year for felony cannabis possession in 2016.

He received a two-year sentence for aggravated fleeing from police in 2013; one year for aggravated DUI on a revoked license in 2008; one year for driving on a DUI-revoked license in 2007; and 48 months in 2007 for possessing more than 15 grams of cocaine.

Judge Vincent Gaughan oversaw the case and approved Ayala’s plea deal.

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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 news@cwbchicago.com