Man fatally shot his own passenger while trying to shoot another driver, prosecutors say. And he was on felony bond when it happened.

Quincy Cole | CCSO

A West Side man who tried to shoot someone in another car by firing out his rear passenger window while driving managed to shoot and kill his own backseat passenger instead, prosecutors said this week.

Quincy Cole, 27, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of his passenger, 19-year-old Roderick James, on December 6, 2020.

Cole was on bail for a pending felony arson case at the time of the killing. CPD records show that police wanted to charge him with murder in the pending case, but prosecutors only approved arson charges.

The alleged murder of James makes Cole the 45th person to be charged with killing, trying to kill, or shooting someone in Chicago during 2020 while on felony bail.

Prosecutors said Cole was driving a car with four additional passengers when another driver pulled up on their right side at a red light near Bloomington and Laramie.

The other driver, a 68-year-old man, told police that he saw the passenger window of Cole’s car roll down to reveal a man pointing a gun at his head, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said. He ducked and heard “multiple” bullets strike his car before Cole sped away, according to Murphy.

About 14 minutes later, one of Cole’s passengers called 911 to report shots fired near Belmont and Leclaire in Belmont Cragin. Witnesses, including an off-duty firefighter, saw four men running from Cole’s car at that location. Police found James dead in the back seat with four gunshot wounds to his chest.

Witnesses provided police with descriptions of the men who ran from the car, and officers arrested Cole along with two of the others nearby. Murphy did not identify the other two people or say if they were charged with any crimes.

Surveillance video shows Cole tossing a gun onto a garage roof before police arrested him, Murphy said. Ballistics tests determined that 11 shell casings found inside Cole’s car were fired by that gun, according to Murphy. Some of those bullets allegedly struck Cole’s chest and hand.

Murphy said the other two people arrested with Cole also ditched guns while running from the car. In addition to the 11 casings from Cole’s gun that police allegedly found in the car with James, investigators recovered 13 casings from three different guns, including three that were fired by James’ weapon, according to Murphy.

He said the ballistics evidence is consistent with Cole shooting out the back passenger window and hitting James instead.

Judge Charles Beach ordered Cole in lieu of $1 million for James’ murder. Beach could not hold Cole without bail because he was not present at the court hearing.

Cole’s pending arson case stems from allegations that he and a man named Keshawn Keaton set fire to a car used by gunmen, including Keaton, during a shooting that killed a 32-year-old man and injured three others in Humboldt Park on July 4, 2019.

CPD records show police sought murder charges against Cole and Keaton in that case, but prosecutors only approved arson charges against the men. Earlier this year, prosecutors approved murder charges against Keaton.

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