#68: Twice-convicted gun offender fired shots, threatened hospital guards while on bond for felony gun case, prosecutors say

Prosecutors say a twice-convicted gun offender was on bond for a pending Class X felony gun case when he threatened a Swedish Hospital security guard with a pistol and fired shots in the hospital parking lot, narrowly missing a bystander.

The Lincoln (20th) Police District praised its tactical team on Twitter for a “persistent and dedicated investigation” of the case which it said involved shots fired at the hospital guards. Charges were filed this week.

Two security guards escorted Justin Cortes, 31, from the hospital on October 8 because he was acting erratically, Assistant State’s Attorney Loukas Kalliantasis said.

Cortes allegedly drove up to the hospital a short time later, pointed a gun at one of the guards, and said something to the effect of, “I got something for you.” A second guard witnessed the interaction.

Cortes then sped away and fired shots while heading through the parking lot, narrowly missing someone in the area, Kalliantasis said. He did not say Cortes shot at security guards.

Police recovered three shell casings at the scene and surveillance video footage of what happened. Both guards identified Cortes in photo line-ups and, Kalliantasis noted, Cortes gave his ID to the hospital staff before he was asked to leave.

Cops arrested Cortes when he showed up for a routine court appearance in his pending Class X armed habitual criminal case on February 28.

He is charged with a new count of Class X armed habitual criminal, reckless discharge of a firearm – endangering others, and aggravated assault of a peace officer with a firearm.

Kalliantasis said Cortes was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon in 2018, felony domestic battery in 2013, felony domestic battery by strangulation in 2013, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a gang member in 2010.

Private defense attorney Edward Austin said Cortes has three children and is expecting his fourth in two weeks.

Judge David Navarro ordered Cortes held without bail on the new charges. He also ordered him held without bail for violating the bond terms in his pending case.

The “not horrible” series

This report continues our coverage of individuals who have been charged with murder, attempted murder, and shooting firearms 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