‘Man with a gun’ tossed weapon into lake as cops approached, prosecutors say. Cue the police SCUBA team

The Chicago Police Department’s marine unit was no match for a man who allegedly tossed a loaded handgun into the lake as a patrol unit approached him Thursday evening near Montrose Beach, according to prosecutors.

Cops went to the lakefront after witnesses reported seeing a man with a gun near the dog park around 5:45 p.m. Officers noticed that a man sitting near the lake looked like the guy who supposedly had a weapon, so they walked over to talk with him.

Juan Valle (inset) and a CPD photo of two Marine Unit divers swimming toward shore to search for the gun. | CCSO; CPD Marine Unit

When they asked the man to take his hands out of his hoodie pockets, he turned toward the lake, reached into his waistband, and threw a gun toward the lake, prosecutors said.

But the gun didn’t quite make it to the lake.

Instead, it hit the ground, which caused the ammunition magazine to eject. Then, the gun and the magazine plopped into Lake Michigan, according to prosecutors.

CPD’s marine unit just happened to be nearby at Belmont Harbor, so they tooled up and sent a diver in to retrieve the items, according to a police report. Prosecutors said the gun and the ammunition magazine were resting about a foot apart on the lake bed.

A Chicago police Marine Unit diver prepares to search for the gun. | CPD Marine Unit

Officers arrested the man who allegedly tossed the gun, 37-year-old Juan Valle. Prosecutors charged him with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, unlawful use of a weapon, and possession of a weapon with a revoked Firearm Owner’s ID card.

Prosecutors said Valle was convicted of aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and aggravated discharge of a firearm in 2008. In 2005, he was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon, they said. He is currently on conditional discharge for aggravated assault.

Assistant Public Defender Suzin Farber said Valle has three children between the ages of 9 and 11.

Judge David Navarro set bail at $50,000. Valley must post 10% of that amount to get out of jail.

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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 news@cwbchicago.com