Prosecutors say a man on probation for a felony gun conviction and on bail for a misdemeanor gun case shot another man during a robbery Friday.
Omari Whitaker doesn’t qualify for our list of people who are accused of shooting, killing, or trying to kill others while on felony bail because prosecutors only charged him with a misdemeanor for the pending gun case — even though it was the second time police allegedly caught him illegally carrying a gun within seven months.
So, Whitaker, 23, will have to settle for a “dishonorable mention.”
Prosecutors charged Whitaker with felony unlawful use of a weapon in August 2020. While that case was still pending, he was allegedly caught with another gun when police arrested him for telephone harassment. But prosecutors only charged him with a misdemeanor gun violation that time.
In June, he pleaded guilty to the felony case in exchange for probation. The misdemeanor case is still pending.
On Friday afternoon, Whitaker, a 19-year-old friend, and the friend’s girlfriend were all hanging out at the friend’s house on the 1300 block of South Lawndale, Assistant State’s Attorney Kim Pressling said. Whitaker was chilling, playing with a handgun, when the 19-year-old reached into a backpack to pull out some weed, Whitaker said.
The man pulled out $300 cash instead and put it on his leg.
Seeing the cash, Whitaker nudged the man’s leg, pointed the gun at him, and demanded his money, Pressling said. The two men allegedly began struggling for control of the weapon.
The first shot Whitaker allegedly fired nicked the victim’s finger, causing the victim’s girlfriend to run from the house in fear, according to Pressling.
Another bullet struck the victim in his abdomen, and he begged Whitaker to stop shooting, Pressling said. Whitaker allegedly gave the man five seconds to run away. The victim locked himself inside a bedroom. Whitaker, Pressling said, kicked down the door and demanded the man’s jacket.
An ambulance later took the victim to Mt. Sinai Hospital in critical condition. He underwent surgery and has stabilized, said Pressling.
Police found Whitaker hiding in a yard a couple of blocks from the shooting scene. They allegedly found the victim’s stolen jacket inside a barbecue grill near his hiding spot. The victim’s backpack, which contained a gun, was found a couple of yards away.
Pressling said a shell casing in Whitaker’s pocket matched the gun police found in the backpack.
Prosecutors charged Whitaker with aggravated battery by discharging a firearm and armed robbery on Sunday. Judge John Lyke ordered him held without bail.