Man fired gun, then handed weapon to teenager when cops arrived, prosecutors say

Juan Catalan | CPD

It’s a scenario that may sound familiar to Chicagoans.

Police respond to a ShotSpotter gunfire alert in a Chicago neighborhood. When they arrive, they see a man with a gun. The man gives the gun to a juvenile who runs away. Police run after the juvenile, who carries the gun in their hand.

This time, thankfully, the situation ended safely.

It all happened on the West Side this week, less than five months after a nearly identical scenario ended with a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo a split second after the boy ditched a firearm that an adult gave him as police closed in.

On Monday, police responded to the 1300 block of North Lockwood after ShotSpotter, a technology that detects gunfire and estimates where the shots were fired, alerted CPD to the area, according to prosecutors and police.

When officers arrived, they allegedly saw a man who matched the description of the shooter and watched as he handed an object to a 16-year-old girl who ran from the scene, officials said.

Police chased the girl and watched as she threw the gun to the ground, Assistant State’s Attorney Darryl Auguste said. After cops caught her, they retraced their steps and found a loaded handgun near where the teen allegedly tossed the object. Cops found a shell casing near the address where ShotSpotter said the gunfire originated, according to Auguste.

The man who allegedly handed the gun to the girl, Juan Catalan, is now charged with felony reckless discharge of a firearm, felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and misdemeanor child endangerment.

Auguste said Catalan admitted to possessing and firing the gun. A CPD surveillance camera recorded the events, the prosecutor alleged. Catalan has a Firearm Owner’s ID card, but he does not have a concealed carry license, according to Auguste.

Assistant Public Defender Genevieve O’Toole said Catalan is 33-years-old, married, and has two kids — one age 16 and the other 15. Officials did not say if the girl who’s involved is one of his daughters.

“He has no criminal background…He has a job, a good job. He has children he’s supporting. However, he’s discharging a weapon within the city of Chicago, which is bad,” Judge Charles Beach said after hearing the allegations against Catalan. “Add to that the fact that you then hand that weapon to a minor and have them take off with it is worse in my mind.”

Beach set bail for Catalan at $20,000 and ordered him to stay in the house between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. if he posts a 10% deposit bond to get out of jail.

The charges filed against Catalan are similar to the three charges that prosecutors filed against Ruben Roman, the 21-year-old who allegedly handed a gun to Toledo after firing at a passing car in the Little Village neighborhood on March 29. In both cases, police went to the scenes after ShotSpotter technology pinpointed the location of gunfire.

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