Magnificent! Cops seize 2 guns near Mag Mile during first 2 hours of 2021

Chicago police seized two firearms in separate arrests near the Magnificent Mile before the new year was even two hours old, according to CPD records. The January 1 gun arrests come after cops arrested an average of one adult per day for illegal firearms possession near the Mag Mile during December.

Just 90 minutes into the new year, police stopped Crystal Payne in her car on the 600 block of North State. When they discovered that her license was suspended, officers asked the 30-year-old and her passengers to get out, prosecutors said.

According to the state’s allegations, police then saw a loaded handgun sticking out of a jacket on the driver’s seat where Payne had been sitting. Also in the jacket pocket was a key chain emblazoned with the name Crystal Payne, police said.

Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood said Payne was visiting Chicago from Indiana for the holidays.

Prosecutors charged Payne with unlawful use of a weapon and Judge Arthur Willis set bail at $5,000. Payne posted a $500 bond to go home.

At 1:45 a.m. on New Year’s Day, police responded to the intersection of State and Grand after a 911 caller reported that someone in a group of three people flashed a gun and “menaced” them, according to prosecutors.

Cops searched the area and saw three people walking up a garage ramp — one of whom matched the description of the person who allegedly had the gun.

When cops stopped the trio, 27-year-old Cierra Stokes was carrying three purses, prosecutors said. One of those purses allegedly contained a loaded handgun. Stokes was not the person who matched the suspect’s description, according to police.

Prosecutors charged her with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and Judge Willis set bail at $3,000.

New Year’s Day arrests continue a month-long wave of gun seizures along Michigan Avenue and nearby side streets.

At 2:50 p.m. Tuesday, police allegedly found a loaded handgun under the driver’s seat of James Thigpen’s car during a traffic stop at State and Superior. Prosecutors charged Thigpen, whose firearm owner’s ID card has been revoked, with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Judge John Lyke released the 26-year-old on his own recognizance.

On Christmas Eve, fire department personnel transported a semi-conscious man from a Mag Mile department store to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment. On the way to the hospital, a paramedic opened the man’s bag to look for ID and found a loaded handgun inside, according to CPD records.

Police responded to the hospital to confiscate the gun, and prosecutors charged the man, 20-year-old Lamond Sims, with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Judge Willis released him on his own recognizance.

On the evening of December 27, cops pulled over 20-year-old Deajon Kemp for allegedly driving while talking on a cellphone in the 700 block of North LaSalle. Police said they found a loaded handgun between the driver’s seat and the center console.

Prosecutors charged Kemp with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and Judge Lyke released him on his own recognizance.

Around 4:30 p.m. on December 23, police pulled Donald Moore over on the 100 block of East Pearson because his registration was expired, according to a CPD report. Cops said Moore, 27, could not produce a driver’s license and tried to run away after getting out of his Mercedes.

According to the report, a loaded and stolen handgun fell from his waistband as he ran. Cops also found Indiana unemployment debit cards in Moore’s wallet issued in names other than his own, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors charged him with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and identity theft. Judge Willis released Moore on his own recognizance with electronic monitoring.

Also on December 23, pulled 33-year-old Mark Mason over for traffic and vehicle violations in the 200 block of East Erie. When police asked if he had a gun in the car, Mason allegedly admitted that he did. Cops found a loaded handgun in the car’s sunglass compartment, an ammunition magazine in the center console, and an open bottle of Patron Tequila under the console, according to a CPD report.

Prosecutors refused to file felony charges against Mason, the report states. Instead, he’s charged with misdemeanor unlawful use of a weapon. He posted a $150 deposit bond to go home.

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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