Off life support for less than a week and with his jaw wired shut, Dakotah Earley was shown pictures of six men by Chicago police detectives who visited him in the hospital on Monday.
Unable to speak and with part of one leg amputated because of gunshot wounds, Earley circled the picture of 19-year-old Tyshon Brownlee and made a gun gesture with his hand, showing what Brownlee did to him, prosecutors said.
The dramatic revelation came during a Tuesday afternoon bail hearing for Brownlee, who is charged with attempted murder and multiple counts of armed robbery for allegedly shooting Earley and robbing four other victims in Lakeview and Lincoln Park this month.
Judge Susana Ortiz ordered Brownlee held without bail.
Police believe a robbery crew associated with Brownlee may have committed as many as 20 hold-ups across the North Side since May 5. Prosecutors charged Brownlee with five of them as police look for his accomplices.
In one case, a 22-year-old woman was walking, talking on her phone, and wearing over-ear headphones when Brownlee grabbed her headphones and pointed a gun at her on the 3000 block of North Racine around 10 p.m. on May 5, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.
He took her bag and phone, hung up the call she was on, then ordered her to reveal the phone’s password while holding her at gunpoint and counting backwards from five, Murphy continued.
Suddenly, Brownlee saw another woman who was walking home from work across the street. He ran over to her, pointed a gun at her head, took her phone, and demanded her password, according to Murphy. She complied and then ran home. The woman told her friends about what happened, but she didn’t call police until days later when someone showed her a news report about Earley’s shooting.
As Brownlee escaped in a small white car, the first woman memorized its license plate and repeated it over and over in her head until she got home and wrote it down, Murphy said. The car, CWBChicago previously reported, had been taken from another robbery victim who was targeted on the 2900 block of North Clark the night before.
After the hold-ups, Brownlee accessed the first victim’s iCloud, took money from her Venmo, changed her social media accounts and tried to use one of her credit cards, Murphy said. Investigators who subsequently recovered the stolen BMW found the second victim’s work ID in the back seat.
Minutes after robbing the women, Brownlee pointed a gun at a 20-year-old man’s chest on the 2900 block of North Racine and ordered him to give up the password while aiming the weapon at him, Murphy said. The victim complied and Brownlee took his wallet, too.
As Brownlee climbed into the back seat of the BMW, he threatened to come back and “pop” the man if the password didn’t work, Murphy alleged. The man’s stolen credit cards were used repeatedly over the next 24 hours. Video cameras captured Brownlee using a card during at least one transaction, according to Murphy. A police officer recognized Brownlee from the footage.
On May 6, Brownlee robbed a DePaul University student at gunpoint on the 1100 block of West Fullerton as the 18-year-old was walking to his dorm room, Murphy said.
Minutes later, at 3:05 a.m., Brownlee allegedly ambushed Earley on the 1300 block of West Webster. Exactly what happened was captured on gut-wrenching video.
Police turned their attention to Brownlee on May 10 after he was shot while riding in a car on Michigan Avenue near The Bean, according to multiple law enforcement sources. Someone dropped Brownlee off at a hospital for treatment and investigators quickly found a “definitive” link to the North Side robberies, according to multiple sources.
But Brownlee had left the hospital by the time detectives arrived to speak with him.
Police arrested him Sunday and executed a search at his home yesterday, officials said. In the home, police found one of the victim’s credit cards, a gun, and a distinctive sweatshirt that he wore during some of the crimes, Murphy said.
Brownlee allegedly admitted to the crimes.
Murphy said Brownlee has no “publishable” criminal background. Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) told a community group that a 19-year-old police were questioning on Monday evening had been arrested five times for carjackings in the past two years.
- Man, 23, critically wounded in Lincoln Park shooting (May 6, 2022)
- Video: Armed robber shoots man 3x in Lincoln Park after demanding phone password (May 6, 2022)
- 2 nights of armed robberies across Lakeview and Lincoln Park ends with victim critically injured by gunman (May 6, 2022)
- ‘This lawlessness has to be stopped!’ Alderman demands action after a man is shot, gravely wounded during North Side robbery spree (May 6, 2022)
- Lincoln Park shooting, robbery victim is identified in GoFundMe campaign (May 6, 2022)
- Robbers who shot a man in Lincoln Park also fired shots at another victim Wednesday, CPD report says (May 7, 2022)
- Lincoln Park shooting victim is on life support, family says: ‘We ARE NOT and WILL NOT lose hope or faith for Dakotah’ (May 7, 2022)
- 2 more men robbed at gunpoint in Lincoln Park overnight (May 9, 2022)
- Another armed robbery reported in Lincoln Park, Lakeview area this morning. Witness says a gunman threatened to shoot them if they helped the victim (May 9, 2022)
- Armed crews rob 4 more people in Lakeview overnight as violent hold-up pattern grows (May 10, 2022)
- 3 more armed robberies reported on North Side as cops explore a possible link to a shooting near “The Bean” (May 11, 2022)
- Cops find ‘definitive’ link between Dakotah Earley case and a shooting near The Bean: sources (May 12, 2022)
- At least 6 more people robbed at gunpoint overnight as North Side armed robbery surge rolls on (May 14, 2022)
- Breaking: 19-year-old charged with robbery and shooting of Dakotah Earley, several other hold-ups, court records show (May 17, 2022)