#51: Concealed carry holder kills catalytic converter thief who opened fire on him in West Lakeview: source

Update 3:59 p.m. — Based on statements made by CPD, the deceased man, Darion Blackman, is the 51st person accused of killing, trying to kill, or shooting another person in Chicago this year while on felony bail.

Update 3:20 p.m. — In addition to being on bail for a felony gun offense in Cook County, Blackman was also charged with a felony gun offense in Will County over the summer. Once again, the Illinois Department of Corrections decided not to revoke his parole for the alleged violation.

Update 7:09 a.m. — The Cook County medical examiner’s office has now publicly identified the deceased man as Darion Blackman. Our original report, which did not refer to him by name, follows.

A suspected catalytic converter thief was shot dead by a concealed carry holder on the North Side late Wednesday, according to a source and initial information from Chicago police. What’s more, CWBChicago has learned that the dead man was on parole, and he was charged with illegally possessing a firearm two months ago — but state authorities decided not to revoke his parole, and he was released back onto the streets.

Around 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, a 44-year-old man was sitting on the steps of his home when he heard a loud noise coming from the street in the 2900 block of North Wolcott in West Lakeview, police said. He investigated the noise and discovered two men under a vehicle.

The two men both drew guns and began shooting at him without warning, police said. The concealed carry holder pulled out his own gun and returned fire, striking one of the men in the neck, according to police.

That man, age 25, collapsed on a nearby sidewalk with a gun under his arm, according to officers at the scene. He was pronounced dead at 12:07 a.m. by a doctor at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Witnesses said a man carrying a saw escaped in a Dodge Durango occupied by at least one other person. Police determined that the Durango, which was previously reported stolen, made its way to the Loop and River North after the shooting, but no arrests were made.

Police were interviewing the concealed carry holder overnight.

CWBChicago is not identifying the man who was killed because authorities have not released it. However, state records indicate he was released from prison in April after serving half of a four-year sentence he received for possessing a stolen motor vehicle.

Chicago police arrested him for illegally possessing a firearm on a West Side street in September. The next day, a judge ordered him held without bail at the request of the Illinois Department of Corrections, which wanted to review his parole status, according to bond court notes maintained by CWBChicago. But state officials decided not to send him back to prison for a parole violation, and they released their hold.

The bond court judge set bail in the gun case at $5,000 with electronic monitoring, meaning the man would have needed $500 to get out of jail on home confinement after the state released its hold. But sheriff’s office records indicate the man was not enrolled in the electronic monitoring program as recently as Tuesday, so another judge may have changed his release conditions.

Just two days ago, three catalytic converter thieves threatened to shoot a man who interrupted their work in Bucktown, according to a CPD report and a neighborhood Facebook group post. The man was investigating a car alarm on the 2000 block of West Shakespeare when the thieves pulled out a gun and said, “you don’t want to do that,” a relative of the man said in the post.

The thieves got away with the man’s catalytic converter but did not fire any shots.

“They were in a silver Infiniti and [they] waved at him as they left,” she said.

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