You probably don’t know Isaac Mendez. But, if prosecutors’ allegations are true, you might be familiar with his work. On Tuesday, Mendez was charged with firing a handgun at a Chicago Police Department surveillance camera in March. As you probably guessed, the police camera recorded the incident.
Just after 6 a.m. on March 13, a blue car pulled into the intersection of Drake and Ainslie in Albany Park. The front seat passenger got out and fired several shots at the CPD camera with his right hand while recording the action with a phone in his left hand. He then returned to the car, which drove away.
But CPD license plate readers and the camera were still hard at work. Detectives put out an internal bulletin about the incident. Cops eventually tracked the car down and pulled it over. During their chit-chat, the driver identified Mendez as the shooter, Assistant State’s Attorney Sean Kelly said.
Police also found a 9-millimeter shell casing in the passenger door handle during the traffic stop, Kelly said. Investigators just happened to find two similar casings lying near the surveillance camera on March 13.
Cops arrested Mendez during a separate traffic stop over the weekend. He’s charged with reckless discharge of a firearm and driving on a suspended license. Kelly said he was adjudicated delinquent for unlawful use of a weapon as a juvenile last year.
Judge Charles Beach set his bail at $30,000, meaning Mendez must post $3,000 to go home on electronic monitoring.
City officials installed the surveillance camera just days before Mendez allegedly fired a gun at it because the intersection has been the site of countless “shots fired” incidents.
In fact, there’s a YouTube page dedicated to nothing but showing surveillance videos of shootings taking place there. The page posted the March shooting from two angles:
On October 2, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and CPD Supt. David Brown went to Albany Park to attend an outdoor police roll call. After the event ended, they relocated to Ainslie and Drake for a sidebar — and a photo session. The Chicago Police Department tweeted this photo of Lightfoot and Brown standing in the intersection, having a staged conversation with local police leadership. The Drake & Ainslie YouTube account posted video of them standing in the street, too.
Just 21 minutes after Lightfoot and Brown’s caravan left the intersection, a man wearing a black hoodie pulled a gun from his sweatshirt and opened fire on a passing car just steps from where they stood. Watch:
No arrests have been announced in the October shooting incident.