Gunman killed Lincoln Square man during a botched robbery one hour after committing an armed carjacking, authorities say

Julius Flowers | CCSO

Update December 23 — Judge Kelly McCarthy ordered Flowers held without bail for the murder of Rae Park. During the bond hearing, prosecutors said Flowers admitted to committing the robbery, which netted him about $20 from Park.

Flowers allegedly told investigators that he realized the ammunition magazine from his gun had fallen out as he began to return to his getaway car after the hold-up.

When he returned to get the magazine, a struggle broke out with Park during which Park suffered a single gunshot wound to his chest, according to the allegations. Prosecutors said video shows the men were not struggling when the shot was fired.

About an hour after Julius Flowers and another man hijacked a driver in West Rogers Park on the morning of December 1, Flowers shot and killed another man during a robbery in Lincoln Square, according to police and prosecutors.

When prosecutors charged Flowers with the West Rogers Park case last week, an assistant state’s attorney revealed a tantalizing detail during his bond court hearing: Flowers had admitted to killing a man in another robbery. But the prosecutor didn’t provide any information about the slaying, nor did they charge Flowers with the murder during that hearing.

But he’s charged now. And the murder he allegedly confessed to is the killing of Rae Park, 59, behind Park’s home in Lincoln Square. Prosecutors charged Flowers with first-degree murder, murder while committing a forcible felony, and robbery while armed with a firearm in connection with Park’s death. He is due in bond court Thursday.

Flowers was on bail for two gun cases in Lake County when he allegedly committed the crimes.

Around 6 a.m. on December 1, a 47-year-old man was warming up his car on the 7100 block of North California when a gunman wearing a ski mask opened his driver’s door and ordered him out. As the victim struggled to unbuckle his seatbelt, the gunman reached into the car and pulled him out. He then hit the victim in the head and climbed behind the wheel.

That’s when Flowers allegedly pulled up in another car and yelled for the gunman to get the victim’s phone, too, prosecutors said. Flowers’ face was not covered during the exchange, according to the allegations.

About an hour later, surveillance cameras recorded footage of Park walking to his minivan in an alley behind the 2600 block of West Catalpa. As Park stood near the open driver’s side door, a silver car pulled to a stop nearby.

A gunman emerged from the passenger seat of the car and approached Park. Police said the gunman announced a robbery, and a brief struggle ensued — until the gunman opened fire.

Park suffered gunshot wounds to his cheek, chest, and back. He was pronounced dead a short time later.

More than a week later, state troopers came across a freshly-hijacked car on the Dan Ryan Expressway near 63rd Street. The vehicle sped away when the troopers tried to pull it over, but a police airplane followed the car from above until it crashed on the West Side.

Prosecutors said Flowers was driving the vehicle and Isiah Walker, 22, was in the passenger seat. They both ran from the car, and Walker dropped a loaded handgun as he sprinted away, Assistant State’s Attorney Morgan Muslin said. Both men were arrested.

Muslin said that investigators determined that Walker was the gunman in the West Rogers Park hijacking because he failed to cover a distinctive tattoo above his eye with his ski mask. They also allegedly located video footage of Walker from shortly before the hijacking to support their case.

Prosecutors charged Flowers with vehicular hijacking, armed robbery with a firearm, and robbery in connection with the West Rogers Park case.

Walker, who was on parole for a gun conviction at the time of the alleged hijacking, is charged with vehicular hijacking and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon in the hijacking. Muslin said he has previous convictions for possessing a stolen motor vehicle and aggravated battery. He is not charged with Park’s death.

Flowers was being held without bail on the hijacking charges when Chicago police arrested him in connection with Park’s murder on Wednesday.

Flowers doesn’t qualify for our list of people accused of shooting, killing, or trying to kill others in Chicago while on felony bail because his pending felony cases are in Lake County, not Cook County.

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About CWBChicago 6882 Articles
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