5th victim dies of wounds suffered in January 9 shooting spree

A fifth victim has now died from gunshot wounds inflicted by Jason Nightengale during his cross-city shooting spree on January 9.

Damia Smith, 15, was pronounced dead at Comer Children’s Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Nightengale shot Smith in the head as she rode in the back seat of a car in the 10300 block of South Halsted, police said shortly after the shooting.

Evanston police fatally shot Nightengale about two hours later as he ran from an IHOP restaurant. Nightengale had just shot 61-year-old Marta Torres inside the restaurant, police said. She succumbed to her wounds one week later.

Two of the seven people Nightengale reported shot have survived. Three died on the day of the attacks.

Evanston officials released police bodycam and vehicle videos last week showing the suburb’s police officers confronting Nightengale in the middle of Howard Street.

Officers’ bodyworn cameras show cops chasing after Nightengale and one is heard repeatedly ordering him to get on the ground as they run. A barrage of gunfire is heard as Nightengale crosses through traffic on Howard Street and then collapses on the stoop of a Dollar General store.

No motive has been given for Nightengale’s hours-long violence binge, but dozens of videos posted to his Facebook page in the days leading up to the spree show him flashing a gun, sizing up potential crime victims as they sit in cars, drinking, smoking, and gradually descending into a seemingly deranged mental state.

The Sun-Times reported that police have linked the gun Nightengale used to other “shooting incidents” in Chicago. Ballistics tests, which compare unique microscopic marks that guns leave on bullets and shell casings, matched casings from Nightengale’s gun to casings found at other shooting scenes in Chicago, a CPD spokesperson confirmed for the paper.

CPD has declined to identify individual crimes that Nightengale might be linked to. The department has specifically declined to comment on rumors that Nightengale might be responsible for two random slayings of men in the Rogers Park neighborhood.

Ballistics tests determined that the bullets used in those murders were fired by the same gun used weeks later in shootings near the United Center and Lawndale, the Chicago Tribune reported in 2019.

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