17-year-old fired 22 rounds to kill a driver in Albany Park, prosecutors say

A 17-year-old donned a ski mask and fired more than 20 shots to kill a 37-year-old man in a targeted attack on Chicago’s North Side last month, prosecutors said Tuesday. Prosecutors gave no motive for the murder, but said Branko Fager and an as-yet uncharged accomplice communicated about plans to kill Michael Conrad for nearly a month.

The murderer of Michael Conrad fires a gun from the passenger seat of a stolen car on May 6, 2022. | CPD

According to the allegations, around 7 p.m. on May 6, Conrad was driving alone in the 4400 block of North Hamlin in Albany Park when Fager leaned out of the passenger window of a stolen car and fired about ten rounds into the back of Conrad’s vehicle.

Fager’s accomplice circled the block and returned to the scene, allowing Fager to fire more rounds at Conrad, Assistant State’s Attorney Danny Hanichak said. He said that police found a total of 22 shell casings, all of which were fired by the same gun. One of the bullets shattered the glass of a 33-year-old woman’s car as she drove nearby. Shards cut the woman and flew into her eye, but she was not shot, Hanichak said.

Michael Conrad | Gun Violence Memorial

Conrad, who was shot in the head, arm, and back, died at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Cellular phone location data put Fager and his accomplice in the same locations before, during, and after the murder, according to Hanichak. Their phones also showed both men traveling to suburban Northlake, where the stolen car they used during the murder was set on fire, Hanichak said.

A month before the murder, Fager sent a picture of Conrad to the accomplice, who responded, “funny asf. Dead ass.” The two communicated on social media and by phone before the murder to discuss the stolen car, having a gun, and meeting before the murder, Hanichak said.

Fager has no criminal background. His public defender said he dropped out of high school in his senior year and has been working in construction for six months.

Judge Mary Marubio ordered Fager held without bail.

He is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery by discharging a firearm.

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