Lightfoot “alarmed and distraught” after armed stalker came to her house to protest parking tickets and fines, prosecutors say

Update December 24, 2022: Igartua pleaded guilty to reckless discharge of a firearm in exchange for an 18-month probation sentence from Judge Vincent Gaughan, according to court records. Prosecutors dropped all of the stalking charges that he faced.

Angered by mounting parking ticket fines, a Chicago man repeatedly went to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home over the past month while armed and then fired shots from his truck about a mile from her residence on Wednesday morning, according to prosecutors and police records.

Lightfoot “became alarmed and distraught” when she learned of the man’s repeated visits to her home on Monday, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

Joseph Igartua, 37, was ordered held without bail on felony charges of reckless discharge of a firearm and stalking by Judge Maryam Ahmad.

Chicago police units sit outside Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s home, where Joseph Igartua (inset) allegedly protested his city traffic tickets while armed. | Google; CPD

Igartua drove to Lightfoot’s home last Saturday and walked up to her home with a letter, but two CPD officers stationed outside the residence stopped him on the front sidewalk, Murphy said. He allegedly told them he went to the mayor’s home to express his anger about traffic citations.

The officers temporarily seized a gun that Igartua was carrying, but they returned it after verifying that he had a valid concealed carry license, according to Murphy.

Igartua returned the next day, driving down Lightfoot’s alley and then dumping a stack of papers in the street as he passed the front of her home, Murphy said. The documents included a letter to Lightfoot in which he said he had been there before with a firearm, and CPD officers took five of his bullets. Murphy said that traffic tickets issued to Igartua and photos of his vehicle were also left in the street.

CPD officers stopped him for speeding after they saw him drive past Lightfoot’s house on Valentine’s Day. He received a warning, and Murphy said he was carrying his licensed firearm at the time.

Murphy said that data from city license plate readers showed Igartua drove past Lightfoot’s home about 15 times between January 17 and Valentine’s Day. Each time, Igartua allegedly drove past the residence, did a U-turn, and passed it again.

Finally, a little after 5 a.m. on Wednesday, covert CPD units conducting surveillance on Igartua due to the recent incidents saw him drive into an alley on the 2500 block of North Tripp, about a mile west of Lightfoot’s home, according to a CPD report.

Moments after Iguarta entered the alley, officers heard gunfire, and a ShotSpotter gunfire detection device alerted to five rounds fired in the alley.

Covert officers located Igartua’s vehicle again as he drove toward Lightfoot’s residence and pulled him over at a gas station on the corner of Pulaski and Wrightwood, about a half-mile from the mayor’s home, according to a CPD report.

Murphy said the officers found two spent shell casings inside Igartua’s truck that matched casings recovered in the alley where shots were fired. They also found a loaded gun in his center console.

Igartua’s defense attorney said he has twin children and recently left his job after seven years of employment.

While Judge Ahmad ordered Igartua to remain in jail without bail, she also set conditions should he be released in the future: surrender his gun licenses and weapons and stay away from the mayor and her home.

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