#54: Man opened fire on trucker during expressway dispute — while on bond for being a felon in possession of a firearm, prosecutors say

Armonii Russell | CPD

Prosecutors this week charged a man with opening fire on a truck driver during a road rage incident on the Dan Ryan Expressway in April. Armonii Russell, 24, was on bail for a pending firearm and manufacture-delivery case at the time of the incident, prosecutors said during a bond hearing on Wednesday.

Russell is the 54th person accused of killing, trying to kill, or shooting someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony. A total of 76 victims are involved in those crimes.

“This court knows of no other offense more threatening to public safety than shooting at a vehicle on a highway,” Judge Maryam Ahmad said before ordering Russell held without bail on charges of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated discharge of a firearm, and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

The allegations stem from an incident that began as Russell sideswiped a tractor-trailer while the vehicles were merging onto the Ryan at 59th Street on April 27, Assistant State’s Attorney John Gnilka said.

Russell pulled in front of the trucker and repeatedly stopped his BMW in a maneuver known as a “brake check,” Gnilka continued.

A dashcam inside the truck was recording as Russell then pulled out a handgun with an extended magazine and fired about four rounds into the big rig’s front windshield, according to Gnilka. No injuries were reported.

Russell allegedly fled the scene, but the trucker and a witness called the police to the scene.

Investigators used the truck’s camera footage to identify Russell through license plate and other records.

Cops tried to arrest him earlier this year as he entered the BMW, but he ran away and shed some clothing and a handgun along the way, Gnilka said. Police collected those items and allegedly linked all of them to Russell through DNA testing.

A judge issued an arrest warrant in the case on November 11, and Chicago police arrested Russell during a traffic stop on the 600 block of North LaSalle this week.

Russell was on bond at the time of the shooting incident for allegedly carrying a 45-caliber handgun while selling pot in a South Side laundromat in January. He posted a $2,500 deposit to get out of jail in that case, court records show.

He also has a pending grand larceny case in Las Vegas, according to Gnilka.

A public defender said Russell has one child and works in construction.

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Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com