Six months after promising federal judge he would “break the cycle,” man’s caught with automatic-firing handgun, prosecutors say

Deshawn Danzler | CPD

Earlier this year, Deshawn Danzler faced more than 12 years in prison for refusing to give a federal grand jury the identity of the person who shot him, even though prosecutors granted him immunity. Another man died in the June 2015 shooting, which was reportedly retaliation for a gang-related shooting that took place a few hours earlier.

But instead of giving Denzler hard time, U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman sentenced him to about two years — time Denzler had already served.

“Your honor, I’ve been jumped, shot, cut, backstabbed. … I’ve been everything in life but successful,” Chicago Tribune reporter Jason Meisner quoted Danzler as telling the judge during a sentencing hearing in February. “I am tired of losing people to the streets and the system. … I want to be the one to break the cycle.”

“This was a gift,” Guzman warned Danzler in granting him a sentence of time served, according to Tribune reporting. “If you don’t abide by my conditions, you will be right back in jail.”

Far from breaking the cycle, Danzler — a four-time felon who’s on parole for his third gun conviction — is now accused of carrying a handgun with automatic firing capabilities while driving an allegedly stolen car this month. He’s being held without bail in the Cook County jail.

Police pulled Danzler over in the Chatham neighborhood for a traffic violation around 1:30 p.m. on August 3 and asked him to step out because he wasn’t carrying his driver’s license, Assistant State’s Attorney Darryl Auguste told Judge Susana Ortiz in a bail hearing the next day.

When police tried to pat him down, Danzler pushed against the car and tried to push the cops, Auguste said. Officers used emergency takedown maneuvers to get him into custody.

The pistol, equipped with a full-auto firing switch, was found inside the car, Auguste said.

Danzler, who’s on state parole for unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and manufacture-delivery of cocaine, is now charged with repeat unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, aggravated assault of a peace officer, resisting police, and possessing a high capacity ammunition magazine. According to Auguste, prosecutors couldn’t charge Danzler with possessing the allegedly stolen car because police could not contact its owner.

Judge Susan Ortiz ordered Danzler held without bail at the request of state prosecutors. He was also held without bail until state authorities review his parole status.

The federal judge who showed Danzler leniency has scheduled a hearing for Thursday to allow Danzler’s lawyer to “show cause as to why his supervised release should not be revoked.”

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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