Prosecutors charge man with having gun on the Mag Mile — but this story is about what happened in his *last* case

Rashaad Collins | CPD

Rashaad Collins’ latest bond court hearing was not particularly interesting at first. Cops working the Mag Mile on Thursday afternoon saw him walking down the street with a fanny pack that appeared to be weighed down by a heavy L-shaped object, according to prosecutors.

The officers stopped Collins, who happened to be on bail for a pending charge of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and allegedly found a loaded gun inside the fanny pack.

So, he was in bond court on Friday to face a new charge of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

That’s mildly interesting. But it’s not nearly as interesting as his last criminal conviction, which Assistant State’s Attorney John Gnilka shared with Judge Arthur Willis during Friday’s hearing.

On January 31, 2017, a man walking home from an auto body shop on the city’s South Side was approached by two men who came running out of a nearby home, Gnilka said. Collins was allegedly one of those men.

Collins pulled a gun out of his coat and shot the man three or four times in the leg, causing him to fall to the ground, Gnilka continued. When the victim started shouting at Collins, the 19-year-old turned around, returned to where the victim was lying, and shot him four or five more times, including once in the penis, Gnilka said.

The Chicago Tribune reported on the shooting in 2017:

The victim reported that Collins and another man, who the victim recognized as someone nicknamed “Chicken,” fired at him, hitting him in the right leg. The victim called Collins and the second attacker a crude word implying that they were weak, and Collins responded by shooting him in his genitals.

Facebook photos of Collins holding a gun aided in his arrest on aggravated battery charges Friday. Prosecutors could not provide any more information on the second attacker.

The victim underwent multiple surgeries but survived. A grand jury later approved attempted murder and other felony charges against Collins.

But he reached an incredible plea deal with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Collins agreed to plead guilty to a single count of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the attempted murder charge and all other felonies.

A judge sentenced him to three years, and Collins spent only half of that time in custody.

Judge Willis was stunned when he heard that a man accused of shooting someone repeatedly in cold blood would get such a generous plea deal. He noted that Collins didn’t even plead guilty to aggravated battery by discharging a firearm, which could have brought a steeper sentence.

“Somehow, somehow, the only conviction he received for the allegations is for an aggravated battery great bodily harm without any sort of a firearm enhancement,” Willis said. “So, for all intents and purposes, the state gave up the use of a firearm in that case when they accepted the plea deal…and he only got 3 years.”

Regarding Collins’ already-pending gun case, Gnilka said he was carrying a firearm in his pants pocket during a traffic in May 2020 and got out of jail by posting a $500 deposit bond the next day.

On Friday, Collins’ defense attorney, Susan Farber, argued that he should not be held on a high bond for the Michigan Avenue gun case because he’s never been convicted of attempted murder and has never been convicted of discharging a firearm.

Willis set bail in the Mag Mile case at $200,000 and ordered Collins to go onto electronic monitoring if he can post 10% of that amount. Willis also ordered him held without bail for violating the terms of bond in his other pending gun case.

He’s due in court again Friday. We’ll be sure to report back if he strikes any more plea deals.

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