2 men charged with double-shooting that left 1 victim dead were BOTH on bond for felony gun cases (and 1 was on electronic monitoring)

Prosecutors on Wednesday charged two men with carrying out a double-shooting last summer while they were both on bail for felony gun cases and one of them was on electronic monitoring. The shooting left a 23-year-old man dead and an 18-year-old man injured.

Armani Bell and Freddrick Welch are the 64th and 65th persons accused of shooting or killing someone — or trying to shoot or kill someone — in Chicago last year while awaiting trial for a felony.

Judge Susana Ortiz ordered both men held without bail on one count of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder.

At 8:42 a.m. on June 17, Steven Lane and a friend were walking on the 6200 block of South Evans in Woodlawn when a gray Nissan pulled to a stop and its passenger opened fire on them, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said Wednesday.

Lane collapsed and died. The 18-year-old ran to his nearby home and called for help. He was shot several times but survived.

Bell, the 31-year-old gunman, was on bond for being a felon in possession of a firearm at the time, Murphy said. Welch, 33, on bond with electronic monitoring for the same charge, was allegedly driving the car.

Chicago police received a tip from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office that Welch had left his home without authorization and his ankle monitor’s GPS placed him at the shooting scene when the shots were fired, Murphy said.

Police were waiting for Welch when he arrived back at his home in a gray Nissan three hours later, according to Murphy. Investigators executed a search warrant on the car and found a shell casing in its trunk that was fired by the same gun that expelled casings at the shooting scene, Murphy said. A fingerprint on the car’s passenger side allegedly came back to Bell.

Armani Bell (Left) and Freddrick Welch | CPD

Murphy said that cellphone location data also placed Bell and Welch at the shooting scene. Surveillance video showed the gray Nissan, registered to a woman who lives at Welch’s home address, was the only car in the area when shots were fired, Murphy continued.

Welch subsequently pleaded guilty to the gun case that he was on bail for, and authorities arrested him after he was discharged from prison Monday.

Murphy said Welch was convicted of manslaughter in Arizona in 2008. In that case, he allegedly shot and killed a man who would not front him drugs while the victim’s girlfriend and four children were present.

Private defense attorney Anthony Burch said Welch has two children and supports four others who were living with him before he went to prison.

Police arrested Bell at his home the same day. The surviving victim tentatively identified him as the shooter, Murphy said. In addition to having a pending case for being a felon in possession of a firearm here in Chicago, Bell has a similar case pending in Georgia, according to Murphy.

Bell’s public defender said he has volunteered for the city’s Safe Passage program and an anti-violence patrol.

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