Alleged Chinatown murderer was the prime suspect in a shooting last year, prosecutors said, but he was never charged

Prosecutors filed murder charges Thursday in connection with the apparently random slaying of a 71-year-old man in Chinatown this week. Alphonso Joyner, 23, was ordered held without bail.

CWBChicago has learned that Joyner was the prime suspect in an October 2020 shooting, too, but charges were never filed. And when police caught Joyner carrying a gun illegally in his car two months later, prosecutors charged him with a misdemeanor.

Here’s what we’ve learned.

On December 21 of last year, police pulled Joyner over for failing to stop at a stop sign on the West Side.

When officers approached his car, Joyner voluntarily told them, “I have my gun in the glove box, and I have a [Firearm Owners ID] card,” prosecutors would later say.

When police recovered the gun from his glove box, it was allegedly equipped with a laser sight and accompanied by an extra ammunition magazine that was loaded.

Joyner did, in fact, possess a license to own firearms at the time, but he was not licensed to carry a concealed weapon. Prosecutors charged him with misdemeanor unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a laser sight.

During a bond court hearing the next day, a prosecutor provided a surprising piece of information to Judge Susana Ortiz.

“This defendant is the subject of a[n] investigation from a[n] October shooting,” the lawyer said. He asked Ortiz to order Joyner to surrender his weapons and firearms license to the police.

Ortiz, citing Joyner’s “cooperative” demeanor with police, released him on his own recognizance. She did tell him to surrender his guns, ammo, and permits to CPD within 24 hours of his release.

Joyner pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor on October 28 in exchange for a sentence of two days in jail — time he already served after his arrest, according to court records.

He was allegedly still carrying his revoked Firearm Owners ID card when police arrested him for killing 71-year-old Woom Sing Tse in cold blood on Tuesday afternoon.

Alphonso Joyner (left) and Woom Sing Tse | CPD; Legal Help Firm

Security camera footage showed Joyner pointing a gun with an extended magazine out of his driver’s window and firing seven rounds at Tse, who was walking to buy a newspaper around 12:30 p.m., Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

Joyner pulled his car closer to Tse, then fired six more shots as Tse covered his head and ears, then fell to the ground, according to Murphy.

Video shows Joyner getting out of his car and calmly walking over to the fallen Tse who was yelling from the ground, Murphy said. Joyner allegedly fired eight more shots at close range before returning to his car and driving away.

Murphy said that Tse died from gunshot wounds to his forehead, the top of his head, his hip, the back of his neck, and his right temple. The veteran prosecutor offered no motive for the killing except to say, “sometimes individuals just do evil things.”

Police located Joyner a short time later as he drove the same car and wore the same clothes as the murderer, Murphy said. Shell casings at the shooting scene allegedly matched a gun that police found crammed between the driver’s seat and center console of Joyner’s car. He had gunshot residue on both of his hands, according to Murphy.

Joyner was never charged with the October 2020 shooting that a prosecutor mentioned to Judge Susana Ortiz nearly one year ago.

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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