“The poster child for no bail” tried to kill off-duty cop days after posting low bail in gun case, prosecutors say

Ten days after posting affordable bail in a felony gun possession case, Jermaine Morris opened fire on an off-duty police officer as the cop parked his car at home, prosecutors said Sunday. During the same hearing, the state also charged Morris with shooting another man in May 2020.

After hearing the state’s allegations against Morris, Judge John Lyke called the 34-year-old “the poster child for no bail.”

Shortly after noon on New Year’s Day, the 32-year-old cop was backing into a parking space behind his home on the 1200 block of South Kedvale when he saw a car coming down the alley at an unsafe speed. The other car struck a garage across the alley from the cop, and Morris got out to look at the damage, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said Sunday.

Jermaine Morris | CPD

Morris suddenly turned and began walking toward the off-duty officer with a gun in his hand, Murphy said. The cops drew his own weapon and fired at Morris through the windshield of his own vehicle. At the same time, Morris allegedly fired toward the off-duty cop. According to Murphy, investigators later found five shell casings outside the officer’s car and nine casings inside his vehicle.

Bullet holes were found in the fender and driver’s door of the officer’s car.

Police found Morris a few minutes after the shooting as his girlfriend and her mother helped him into a car outside their home near the off-duty cop’s residence, Murphy said. The women told police they were taking Morris to a hospital for treatment after he returned home with gunshot wounds. Murphy said the car that crashed in the alley is registered to Morris’ girlfriend.

Morris, who was shot during the confrontation, has been released from the hospital. The off-duty cop was not injured. Police never found the gun that was allegedly fired at the officer.

Murphy said the off-duty cop never identified himself as a police officer to Morris, so the case does not qualify for attempted murder of a police officer charges. The alleged victim identified Morris as the gunman, according to Murphy.

On Sunday, Morris was also charged with shooting a man on the West Side during a dispute over drug territory on May 15, 2020.

Prosecutors said Morris opened fire on the 29-year-old victim after arguing about narcotics activity on a corner in the 3900 block of West Roosevelt. The entire shooting was captured on video, Murphy said. The alleged victim, who was shot twice in the leg, stopped cooperating with investigators, he said.

CWB reported Saturday that the New Year’s Day shooting unfolded just days after Morris posted “affordable bail” on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Morris, a five-time convicted felon, is now charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

His private defense attorney argued Sunday that Morris should not be held without bail because none of the bullets he is accused of firing went through the off-duty cop’s windshield or landed near to the victim.

“You don’t get credit for being a bad shot,” Lyke said, before ordering Morris held without bail on both attempted murder cases and for violating the terms of bail in the gun case.

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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