On electronic monitoring for 2 gun cases, man is charged with having 5 more after pulling a mini-AK47 outside Cook County jail, prosecutors say

Electronic Monitoring Appreciation Week continues at CWB Chicago. Our team has been flooded with so many new stories about people being arrested while on EM lately, we decided to make a week of it. You can see all of our EM Appreciation Week coverage at this link. Here’s the latest:

A man who was supposed to be home on electronic monitoring for illegal possession of a machine gun is now charged with having five more guns after he allegedly pulled up to the Cook County jail and pointed a mini-AK47 at one of the cellblocks.

Prosecutors said Charles Monroe, 19, later told a jail inmate that he thought he heard someone banging on a jail window, so he was going to shoot the gun into the air. He didn’t fire the weapon, though, so he offered to come back and shoot it on another day that would be convenient for the inmate, prosecutors said.

Monroe is not charged with escaping electronic monitoring because state legislators last year decriminalized “EM” absences of less than 48 hours. They also gave people on EM permission to leave the house two days a week to run errands.

Charles Monroe allegedly pulled a gun out of his car and prepared to fire it outside the county jail. | CPD; Google

Monroe was on electronic monitoring for two gun cases, including one that began a year ago after he and two other men allegedly ran from a crashed SUV that had just been stolen from a West Loop restaurant’s valet stand.

As Monroe ran from the car, he allegedly threw a loaded handgun equipped with a switch that converts it to automatic fire. He was free on a recognizance bond for another gun case at the time.

Around 3:21 p.m. on March 3, while on electronic monitoring for both of those gun cases, Monroe allegedly drove to the Cook County jail and parked his car near Division 11, a medium-security detention center. Prosecutors said that the sheriff’s office surveillance video shows him stepping from the car, pulling a Mini Draco AK47-style firearm from the back seat, and pointing it at the jailhouse.

Sheriff’s office investigators allegedly learned Monroe is “associated with a new detainee,” and they pulled recordings of that inmate’s jailhouse phone conversations.

During one recorded conversation, the detainee told a woman that “Charlie” had told him that he had pulled up to the jail earlier and heard someone banging on a window, prosecutors said. So, Charlie grabbed his Draco and was going to shoot it into the air, but he didn’t. The inmate allegedly told the woman that Charlie told him to “pick a day and he would come out again.”

Investigators pulled GPS data from Monroe’s ankle monitor and determined that he was near the jail at the time of the gun incident, prosecutors said.

Officials who conducted an electronic monitoring “compliance check” at Monroe’s home on March 7 allegedly found five loaded handguns in his bedroom, including a Mini Draco. Three of the pistols had extended ammunition magazines, according to prosecutors. Authorities found two more guns in another bedroom, but prosecutors did not charge Monroe with those.

In addition to the new case and his two pending gun charges, Monroe was adjudicated delinquent for two felonies as a juvenile in 2019.

Monroe’s private defense attorney noted that sheriff’s investigators said surveillance video showed the man who had a gun outside the jail had dreads. But Monroe, the attorney argued, does not have dreads.

“Clearly, I’m not a hairstylist. I don’t know what specifically characterizes a dread hairstyle,” Judge David Navarro countered. “I’ll note you have a distinctive hairstyle, Mr. Monroe … but there’s gonna be surveillance video that’s gonna corroborate whatever that hairstyle is.”

He then granted a state’s request to hold Monroe without bail on five new felony gun possession charges.

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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