An on-duty, armed Walgreens security guard shot a man in the Loop this weekend during a dispute over a gift card, prosecutors said Tuesday. The guard is not licensed to carry a firearm and is awaiting trial for allegedly breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s home and beating her with a baseball bat, according to Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy.
Anthony Silas, age 23, is charged with felony counts of robbery with a firearm, aggravated battery with a firearm, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in connection with the shooting at State and Madison streets around 8:40 p.m. Saturday.
Murphy said the victim, a 25-year-old man, went to the Walgreens at 2 North State to purchase a gift card for his upcoming birthday. Silas, who was working as an armed guard at the store, knows the victim from school, according to Murphy.
When the victim didn’t have enough money to buy the gift card, he asked Silas for some money to help him make the purchase. Silas agreed to help. But the victim had trouble getting money from an account to repay Silas and walked out of the store, Murphy said.
Silas followed him, demanding his money back, and ordering the victim to give him collateral for the loan, according to prosecutors.
Increasingly angered, Silas pulled his gun out of its holster, pointed it at the victim from under his vest, and repeatedly said, “someone gonna die today,” Murphy continued.
Fearing that he may get shot, the victim gave Silas his earrings, a shopping bag containing merchandise, and his phone. Silas then ordered the victim to unlock the phone while pointing his gun at the victim’s back, according to Murphy.
Silas threatened the victim several more times, then shot the victim in his right hip, Murphy said. Silas allegedly fled into a nearby Red Line subway entrance.
Police found Silas a few minutes later as he ran through the Chicago-State Red Line station in Streeterville. He was wearing an empty holster and a vest with the word “security” on it. A gun was found in his waistband, and he was carrying the victim’s phone and shopping bag, according to Murphy.
Silas’ public defender, Drew Bruno, contested Murphy’s version of events and blamed Walgreens for putting Silas “in a position he’s not qualified for.” Bruno said Silas’ supervisor ordered Silas to remove the victim and another person because they were pulling a scam on the store, and the victim later “lunged” at Silas.
According to Murphy, Silas was on bail and GPS monitoring at the time of the shooting while he awaits trial on violent domestic battery allegations. In that case, Murphy said, Silas kicked in his ex-girlfriend’s front door, beat her with a baseball bat, punched her in the face, and bit her on her breast.
Before ordering Silas held without bail, Judge Arthur Willis expressed his dismay with the way prosecutors handled the alleged attack against the woman.
“This court does not understand how he was never charged with home invasion,” Willis said. The judge suggested that the state may want to reconsider its charges.
Walgreens did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday afternoon.