A series of shootings involving gunmen who fired from — and sometimes between — cars raised a lot of concern in Lakeview and North Center last week. A woman died when a shooter’s SUV slammed into her car. A 16-year-old was shot and killed during a running gun battle that ended with a hail of gunfire outside Lakeview High School. Most recently, Juan Nandi was shot in the neck as he drove near Lincoln and Montrose.
Police said Nandi tossed a gun into a back yard as they approached him. Now, CWBChicago has learned, prosecutors initially refused to charge him with felony illegal gun possession because “victims cannot be offenders.”
The assistant state’s attorney’s unique take on gun possession laws came just days after his office was widely criticized for refusing to file charges of any kind against five people arrested after a blazing gunfight that police witnessed and surveillance cameras recorded. Why no charges? Because they were “mutual combatants,” a prosecutor told officers. “Mutual combat” was also said to be the reason that Cook County prosecutors gave for declining to charge a suburban teenager with murder after he allegedly stabbed another teen to death during a fight.
Police responded to calls of shots fired near Lincoln Avenue and Montrose Avenue around 1:50 a.m. on October 6. When they arrived, they saw Nandi walking and asked him if he saw the shooting, according to a CPD report. Nandi, 21, pointed south on Lincoln toward a crashed car that he said had bullet holes in it, authorities said.
That’s when the officers realized Nandi had blood on him and appeared to be bleeding. As the cops moved closer, Nandi ran. The police followed and allegedly saw him throw an object over a fence. After officers caught Nandi, they returned to the yard and found a loaded handgun, according to the police report.
Nandi was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center with a bullet lodged in the base of his skull. Police said he was carrying a small amount of suspected crack cocaine and $690 cash.
“Victims cannot be offenders”
About five hours after officers arrested Nandi, who is not licensed to own or carry a firearm according to police, an attorney in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office felony review unit refused to file felony gun charges against him.
“Victims cannot be offenders,” the report quoted the prosecutor as saying when he rejected the case.
“No felony [unlawful use of a weapon] charges will be pursued per [the prosecutor],” an officer wrote.
Town Hall District officers were not convinced by the prosecutor’s interpretation of the law, so they looped in a CPD deputy chief, according to police records.
On Wednesday evening, twelve hours after the first prosecutor spiked the case, a different assistant state’s attorney signed off on the charges, CPD records show.
Nandi posted a $500 bail deposit to get out of jail. Meanwhile, police have not yet arrested the person who shot him.