Second man charged with “straight-out gun battle” on Old Town street

Valentino Russell | CPD

Prosecutors have charged a four-time felon with participating in a wild shooting this summer that a judge called a “straight-out gun battle” that turned an Old Town street “into the OK Corral.”

Valentino Russell, 38, is the second person charged with the shoot-out that left one man hospitalized on July 18. Russell has twice been convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, prosecutors said during a bond hearing.

Multiple video cameras operated by the city and private entities captured footage of the incident, which unfolded in the middle of the 1300 block of North Hudson around 7 p.m.

About 20 people were wandering around the block when Russell and the man who would eventually be shot pulled onto the block and got out of their car, leaving it double-parked in the street, prosecutors said. According to the state, the two men pulled out handguns, and Russell’s companion began beating a man in the street with a handgun.

Video allegedly shows Russell extending his arm and firing several rounds while his sidekick fired shots up the street. One of the bystanders shot Russell’s companion, who collapsed on the street. Police later found the 35-year-old victim lying unconscious between two cars.

The head of security at a nearby apartment complex identified Russell from video footage and in photo line-ups based on previous contact between the men, prosecutors said. Russell is banned from the complex, according to the guard.

On Wednesday, a fugitive apprehension unit located Russell and ordered him to raise his hands. When he did, officers saw the butt of a loaded handgun sticking out of his waistband, prosecutors said.

He is now charged with armed habitual criminal, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and reckless discharge of a firearm. Judge Arthur Willis set bail at $500,000 and ordered Russell to go onto electronic monitoring if he posts the mandatory 10% deposit bond.

Last month, prosecutors said 36-year-old Brandon Brown was one of the bystanders who fired shots in the melee. Video allegedly shows Brown duck down during the gunfire, grab a pistol from his pocket, and pop up twice to fire shots during the shoot-out. He then fled in a car, prosecutors said.

Judge John Lyke, who handled Brown’s bond court hearing, said the street turned “into the OK Corral” during “a straight-out gun battle.”

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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