#50: Uber driver was murdered by a man who was on felony bail, federal prosecutors say. But that’s only part of the story.

Edmond Harris | CPD

When Chicago police arrested Edmond Harris after he allegedly crashed a hijacked SUV in Lawndale on February 12, they appeared to have a slam-dunk felony case against him.

But Harris was not charged with any crime related to the carjacking or driving the hijacked SUV. Instead, prosecutors only charged him with failure to register as a sex offender in an unrelated matter.

He went home a few days later after posting a $1,000 deposit on the felony registration charge.

As it turns out, Harris was a member of a prolific and extremely violent armed robbery and carjacking team that had been creating havoc throughout the city and suburbs for weeks, prosecutors now say.

And five weeks after he posted that $1,000 bail bond, he killed an Uber driver in yet another carjacking, according to federal prosecutors.

Harris is the 50th person accused of killing, trying to kill, or shooting someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony.

Crime after crime

An armed robbery crew that pulled up next to a Lyft driver who was waiting for a passenger outside the Sears Tower on January 20 already had over a dozen other robberies and carjackings under their belts, officials now believe.

After they carjacked the 31-year-old Lyft driver at gunpoint, the offenders drove a couple of blocks and robbed another man who was walking on the sidewalk. Then, they drove away again.

The next day, Chicago police issued a community alert that linked the Sears Tower carjackers to shootings, street robberies, hijackings, and restaurant hold-ups through the city and suburbs. CPD even released a video showing two armed men climbing through a Dunkin’ drive-thru with guns to rob the place — a favorite technique of the crew.

A possible break

Late on February 12, Chicago cops were on patrol in Lawndale when they saw a 2013 Ford Escape that was featured in a flyer that detectives distributed to officers across the city, according to a CPD report. The flyer said the SUV had been carjacked in Forest Park and used in violent crimes across Chicago.

As officers followed the SUV, the driver, later identified as Edmond Harris, lost control and crashed into a pole, then got out and ran. Cops arrested him. He was the only person in the car, they said.

Investigators recovered rubber surgical gloves and a balaclava-style ski mask from the wrecked car and took Harris in for possession of a stolen motor vehicle, according to CPD records.

But he was never charged with that crime or anything related to the stolen SUV or the car crash.

Prosecutors did, however, charge him with failing to register as a sex offender, something he is required to do since he received probation for a child pornography case in juvenile court. He was released a few days later after posting bond.

It’s bad enough that a man who was apparently part of a violent criminal crew that cops across the metropolitan area were trying to arrest was let go without being charged.

What’s worse is that the man allegedly continued to commit violent crimes and even killed someone after they set him free.

Uber driver murdered

Around 3:40 a.m. on March 23, 46-year-old Uber driver Javier Ramos was shot in the head and killed by a passenger he dropped off in the 3700 block of West Douglas Boulevard, police said. The hijacker then drove away with Ramos’ Lexus GS.

Ramos was murdered about three blocks from where Harris was arrested five weeks earlier after crashing a hijacked SUV with surgical gloves and a ski mask inside. The murder scene was also less than 500 feet from the front door of Harris’ home.

In June, federal prosecutors charged Harris with murdering Ramos. Two weeks ago, they charged him with the Sears Tower hijacking, too.

Editor’s note: This report continues our coverage of individuals who have been charged with murder, attempted murder, or trying to kill a person while on bond for a pending felony case. CWBChicago began our series of reports in November 2019 after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans publicly stated, “we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur” under the court’s bond reform initiative.

The actual number of murders and shootings committed by people on felony bail is undoubtedly much higher than the numbers seen here. Since 2017, CPD has made arrests in just 4% of shootings and 31% of murders, according to the city’s data.  You can support CWBChicago’s work by becoming a subscriber today.

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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