Prosecutors: Man who fired gun outside Grand Red Line was carrying 38 bags of crack and $2,357 cash

Kyle Fortner | CPD

The man who fired shots outside the Grand Red Line station Tuesday afternoon was carrying 38 bags of crack, more than two ounces of pot, $2,357 cash, and a handgun when cops arrested him a few blocks away, prosecutors said Wednesday.

A judge ordered Kyle Fortner, 34, held without bail.

Police responded to calls of shots fired on the first block of East Grand around 4:30 p.m. and met with several witnesses, including a security guard who provided a photograph of the man who fired the gun, prosecutors said.

Officers searched the area for the man in the photo and spotted Fortner on the 200 block of East Illinois about five minutes later. Cops searched Fortner’s backpack and allegedly found a loaded handgun and eight bags of pot that weighed 66 grams — a little more than two ounces. Fortner was also carrying 38 baggies of crack and the cash on his person, prosecutors said.

The security guard confirmed police found the right guy, according to prosecutors, and surveillance video allegedly shows Fortner firing the gun into the air. Three shell casings were found at the scene.

Prosecutors said Fortner admitted to shooting the gun into the air. His defense attorney said Fortner told police that “people were coming at him,” and he shot the gun to scare them away.

“Mr. Fortner stood on a busy street corner right in the middle of River North and fired a weapon into the air,” Judge Charles Beach said to summarize the state’s allegations, noting that the incident happened at “just about rush hour in that area.”

Fortner, who has two previous felony convictions, is charged with Class X armed violence and felony charges of aggravated discharge of a firearm, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, manufacture-delivery of cannabis, and possession of a controlled substance. He also had an active arrest warrant at the time of the alleged shooting for a misdemeanor battery case that he hadn’t shown up in court for since sometime in 2019.

“He has not returned to court for almost two years on that case,” Beach noted.

“Coronavirus been around, too, sir. What about that?” Fortner interjected, apparently overlooking that his alleged failures to show up in court pre-date the COVID pandemic. Fortner went on to speak openly about the new charges, too.

“I never had 66 grams of nothing on me and my person,” Fortner said. “I don’t know about none of this. This is the first case in the history of my 34 years that I had a pistol in my….”

At that point, Judge Beach and Fortner’s defense attorney cut him off to save him from making further statements that prosecutors could use against him down the road.