A man who allegedly sped from the scene of a shooting in a hijacked car with a rifle by his side last month was charged Friday with doing almost exactly the same thing again this week — except, this time, a Chicago police detective saw him shoot a man with the rifle, prosecutors said.
Jawaun Stamps is the 23rd person accused of killing or shooting — or trying to shoot or kill — someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony. The alleged crimes involve at least 51 victims, 11 of whom died.
Listening to lawyers and police talk about Stamps would leave most people thinking they were hearing about two different people.
On internal intelligence reports, the Chicago Police Department pegs Stamps as one of its “Top 10” subjects in the North Lawndale-based Ogden District. The CPD report said he is a dangerous gang member who was involved in two shootings in less than three weeks. Prosecutors have said he has “approximately 12” gang-related tattoos.
But Stamps’ attorneys, who are typically provided by the Lawndale Christian Legal Center, describe a much different man.
Stamps, 22, has been working in a warehouse and at Legit Ventures, “which teaches young people how to become involved in the legal cannabis industry in Chicago,” his defense lawyer said Friday. Family members and his violence prevention mentor were in court to support him. And he’s never been charged with a violent crime before.
‘Trying really hard to move on with his life’
Court records show that Stamps has only been convicted of one crime as an adult: misdemeanor possession of a firearm. Prosecutors originally charged him with a felony, alleging he brought a gun into Community Christian Alternative Academy in December 2017. The state eventually struck a deal that gave him two years probation from Judge William Raines in exchange for his guilty plea, according to court records.
In September 2020, one year after he pleaded guilty, Stamps was in court again. Cops said they saw a bulge in his waist on a West Side street and he ran when they approached him. A cop who chased him into an apartment building said he found a loaded gun in Stamps’ waistband.
Prosecutors charged him with possession of a firearm by a gang member and unlawful possession of a handgun.
Stamps “made numerous self-incriminating statements post-Miranda,” officers wrote in their arrest report, which claimed that Stamps is associated with the Beam Team, JCG, and NFG street gangs.
In a recorded statement with cops, Stamps admitted that “he carried the gun for protection and he outlined his extensive gang participation,” a prosecutor said during the bail hearing. And, to top it off, Stamps was on probation for that misdemeanor gun case.
But defense attorney Cathryn Crawford of the Lawndale Christian Legal Center presented a much different narrative for Judge Charles Beach to consider.
“He has not been involved in gang activities,” Crawford insisted. Rather, Stamps was working to get a restaurant job. His longtime girlfriend was expecting their child. And he was “working very closely” with his case manager at the legal center, she said.
“The neighborhood is exceptionally dangerous, even for people who have not been actively involved in gang activity,” Crawford said.
Then there’s this: The cop who followed Stamps into the apartment building and allegedly found the gun in Stamps’ waistband had recently “been the subject of an adverse credibility finding” by another judge, Crawford alleged.
She said she was surprised to hear the incriminating statements that cops attributed to Stamps because a fellow attorney went to the police station to invoke his right to remain silent.
“He has been trying really hard to move on with his life,” Crawford said.
Stamps posted a $500 deposit bond and went home on a 24-hour curfew with electronic monitoring the next day, according to court records.
Shortly before Thanksgiving last year, prosecutors dropped the entire case.
Less than three months ago, Stamps’ attorneys filed a motion to have his entire record expunged, including the misdemeanor gun conviction. The expungement request is still pending.
A little after 2 p.m. on May 20, four Chicago police officers were on patrol together in a marked squad car when they heard gunfire very close by. Three of them jumped out of the squad and ran toward the shots while the fourth drove in the same direction with the patrol car.
Moments later, the cops watched as a silver 2008 Mercedes sped from the shooting scene. A CPD surveillance camera was recording as the car crashed and Stamps ran from the driver’s seat, prosecutors said. Police, who said they were close enough to the fleeing car to see Stamps driving it alone while wearing a face mask, arrested him nearby.
The Mercedes had been taken in an armed carjacking one month earlier and it was equipped with stolen license plates that belonged on a Chevy, according to a CPD arrest report.
On the car’s front passenger floorboard, police allegedly found a loaded multi-caliber assault rifle that was stolen from Green Bay in August 2020. A 30-round ammunition magazine was attached.
Back where the shots were fired, cops found a 31-year-old man lying on the 1500 block of South Ridgeway with gunshot wounds throughout his body. He remained intubated and in critical condition days later, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors charged Stamps with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, leaving the scene of an accident, criminal trespass to vehicle, and unauthorized use of license plates. They did not charge him with shooting the victim or firing the gun.
During a bail hearing three days after his arrest, a court worker who reviewed Stamps’ background recommended that the judge release him on bail without any special conditions. An assistant state’s attorney told the judge that Stamps had “no publishable background.”
He went home the next day by posting a $3,000 deposit bond as ordered by Judge Kelly McCarthy, who also told Stamps to stay in the house from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 15 days after Stamps walked out of jail on bond, a Chicago police detective was driving to work when he came upon a silver Dodge Charger blocking a traffic lane on the 3600 block of West Douglas.
The off-duty officer pulled to a stop behind the idling car and waited for the driver to move along. The cop was about to get much more than he bargained for.
As the detective watched, Stamps stepped out of the Charger’s front passenger seat with a rifle and dropped to one knee behind a parked car, Assistant State’s Attorney Sean Kelly said Friday. Stamps then began firing the rifle at a nearby house, striking a 38-year-old man who was on the porch, Kelly said.
Stamps ducked for a moment, then popped back up to fire more rounds at the house as someone pulled the injured man into the home, according to Kelly.
The detective called in the shooting as Stamps allegedly tossed his rifle into the Charger and got into the passenger seat. The Charger, which had been hijacked at gunpoint, sped away.
Kelly said the detective followed it until it crashed into a brick wall. The driver got away. Police arrested Stamps nearby after he vaulted a fence.
When cops peeked over the fence, they found a rifle laying in the grass, Kelly said.
Investigators found 23 shell casings at the shooting scene that allegedly matched the rifle. They found 40 more casings inside the Charger, leading police to believe that the driver also fired shots at the house.
A CPD intelligence report said the victim is a known gang member who has amassed 32 arrests and six felony convictions, including three for gun charges. He remained in critical condition at Mt. Sinai Hospital on Friday, Kelly said. He was shot twice, suffering broken ribs in the process. Doctors had to remove his spleen.
Judge Mary Marubio ordered Stamps held without bail on charges of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery by discharging a firearm. She also held him without bail for violating the terms of bond in the felony gun case from last month.
The “not horrible” series
This report continues our coverage of individuals accused of killing, shooting, or trying to kill or shoot others 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 brought charges in less than 5% of non-fatal shootings and 33% of murders, according to the city’s data.
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